*1/2 (out of four)
This true story of morally questionable, mid-20th century L.A. cops and their efforts to rid the city of organized crime and corruption contains so much intrigue, it’s a wonder no one’s done it before.
Oops, they have. Sixteen years after Curtis Hanson’s exceptional “L.A. Confidential,” the silly, redundant “Gangster Squad” attempts to mine the period for violent pizzazz and romantic va-va-voom. Its flair is all posturing, its hints of style nothing but hollow tricks.
That’s because director Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland,” “30 Minutes or Less”) seems flustered by genre conventions. Well, and because of the dreadful script by first-time feature writer Will Beall, adapting Paul Lieberman’s book, which chronicles Sgt. John O’Mara (
Reunited from “Crazy Stupid Love,” Ryan Gosling (as Jerry, a cop who carelessly cozies up to Mickey Cohen’s gal Grace and only wants to fight after his favorite shoe-shine boy gets shot) and
Reminder: “Gangster Squad” was originally set for a September release, but following the movie theater tragedy in Aurora, Colo., Warner Bros. pulled the film’s trailer—which featured a shooting in a movie theater—while also postponing the film’s release and cutting that scene altogether. That was the right move, but almost everything else about the film came out wrong.
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