DVD Review: Gangster Squad Blu-Ray Combo Pack

Review by Laurie Coker

Rating: C

Release Date: 26th April 2013

Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, and Giovanni Ribisi

Disc Information:

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)
UV digital copy
iTunes digital copy
DVD copy

Gangster Squad opened to mixed reviews; unfortunately most, however, were less than positive. I saw it in the theatre with a friend (male) and while he loved it, I found its characters cartoonish and the story somewhat lackluster. BUT, that said, I did truly enjoy looking at it. Director Ruben Fleischer, who because of last summer’s shooting in Aurora, Colorado, had to re-tool his film and push the opening date, does give audiences a stunning rendition of 1940s America. The film is brilliant to look at – sets, costuming, cars, and the cast takes its characters seriously. Still the story lacks punch.

The film chronicles gangster Micky Cohen (Penn) and the men brought in to bring down one of America’s most notorious criminals. Brolin plays the returning from World War II hero in charge of a group, put in place by the city’s police chief, who will do whatever it takes to bring Cohen down.

This stellar cast gives it its all, but the cliché-ridden, cartoonish tale plays out far more comedically than I am sure is intended. Gangster Squad, meant to be far more serious, plays out a good deal like Dick Tracy a tepid film, starring Warren Beatty and based on an actual cartoon, with similar themes. In the case of Dick Tracy, the comic book aspect works (to a degree), but with a film “based on actual events” no one really wants bigger-than-life caricatures of real life, serious people.

In addition to this being a DVD, Blu-ray combo set, special feather include directors commentary and deleted scenes, which after viewing, I understood why they were deleted.  There are better movies out there on the same subject, but since Fleisher’s film is so pretty, I will give it merits there  and place a C in my grade book.

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