Yup, still January.
"Gangster Squad" is a movie that has been floating around in trailers and advertisements for just about six months now. It would have come out sometime last fall (specifically September 7th as evidenced by the poster I'm using) if not for that Colorado movie shooting, which prompted the producers to not only move their film back, but also re-edit and re-film a large portion of the film. If you remember the first trailers, "Gangster Squad" was going to feature guys with tommy guns popping out of the screen of a theater showering bullets in all directions. In a massive overreaction, this scene was cut, and all references to that scene were cut, and they changed the entire movie to avoid being politically incorrect. It reminds me of how back in 2001 and 2002, they needed to airbrush the Twin Towers out of every movie that dared take place in New York. You know, when you go out of your way to avoid something controversial like this, you're only putting more emphasis on it. I mean, just because there were school shootings, does this mean I'm never allowed to watch "Heathers"?
So "Gangster Squad" actually was a movie torn apart in post-production, which might explain why the movie isn't all that good. There's a chance that the original "Gangster Squad" was a movie with energy and humanity that didn't feel like a parody trying to play itself straight, but I have my doubts. Unfortunately "Gangster Squad" is simply dull, it was a movie that I did not want to be watching almost immediately. This was pretty unfortunate because I actually was really looking forward to "Gangster Squad". I wasn't watching this ironically or just because I needed something to review to fill up this blog, I legitimately wanted to see an 1940s-style gangland crime movie adapted for the modern screen. Well, the movie just doesn't work. Quentin Tarantino can take Seventies genres like Blaxploitation and make them feel fresh and modern, Ruben Fleicher, the director of this, cannot.
"Gangster Squad" is an ensemble film featuring a half dozen Los Angeles cops breaking the law and murdering gangsters in order to save their city from an evil Chicago king pin, played by Sean Penn. Unfortunately, none if ever seems to come together. Sean Penn is an over-the-top comic book villain, the lead of the Gangster Squad, Josh Brolin, simply comes off as terribly flat, Ryan Gosling is trying to be authentic but is underused, Emma Stone is wasted because she's only around to look sexy, Robert Patrick seems like he wandered in from a silly Western, and there's an African American guy and a Latino guy, thrown in for no reason other than to have an African American guy and a Latino guy. The movie feels lifeless, every character feels like he's part of an unnecessary subplot in an already mediocre crime movie. Its silly and cartoony, but never silly and cartoony enough. Because "Gangster Squad" is also trying to be something of a serious period piece, but its never believable. And Rubin Fleicher has no idea how to shoot or direct like this movie is actually taking place in the Fourties, instead he just uses bland color correction to try to make it look-old timey. There are attempts to bring some moral ambiguity to the tale, but then they just decide that Sean Penn is pure evil and that the good guys are pure good. And because of that, its simply boring. And you know what? I have nothing else to say. This is the review.