Box art for Gangster Squad

  Gangster Squad

action & adventure, drama

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town that is until a crew of LAPD officers led by Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) wage war on his empire.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
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common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
0 out of 5
4 out of 5
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very violent tale of LAPD's real-life war against the mob.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gangster Squad is based on the real-life exploits of crime boss Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), who -- with his gangster pals -- brazenly runs brothels, casinos, drug dens, and betting operations under the protection of corrupt cops, judges, and politicians ... until a secret crew of cops bands together to take Cohen out. Expect nonstop brutal violence, including several huge gunfights that result in dozens dead or wounded, as well as intense fistfights (with wince-inducing sound effects) that leave participants beaten to a pulp, a harrowing near-rape, and several episodes of torture (a character is pulled apart by two vehicles, another is pounded with a mallet-like device, and one is killed with a power drill). Many scenes also feature people drinking and smoking cigarettes, and language includes various permutations of "f--k." The star-studded cast also features Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Nick Nolte as the police chief who makes it his mission to run the mob out of town.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the gangster squad's methods. Do the ends justify the means? Is it OK for them to basically wage war against the mob on the city streets, instead of using legal means such as warrants and due process?
  • How does the violence in Gangster Squad compare to what you might see in a horror movie? Which has more impact? Why?
  • Gangster Squad is based on real-life events. What do you think about a town that's as brazenly corrupt as this version of Los Angeles in 1949?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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    reviews counted: 0
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Audience Reviews

2 stars


- spielberg00, Friday, November 22, 2013

2 stars

Gangster Squad is a generic, by the numbers ganster film with nothing to raise it above the level of average. Nothing is terrible in this film, but nothing is great either. The cast is pretty all-star, but none of them give standout performances because the film doesn't really call for it. Sean Penn can be dynamic, but here he overacts as the gangster leader Mickey Cohen under tons of makeup effects. Josh Brolin plays the main character John O'Mara who refuses to let Los Angeles get taken over. He gets asked to put together a team of other cops to take down Mickey "outside of the law". Do whatever it takes. He recruits a ragtag team comprised of Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, and Robert Patrick. What escalates is the same thing as every other gangster film: lots of shooting and people dying in the bloodbaths. None of the characters leave a lasting impression other than Ryan Gosling, who is solid. Emma Stone plays his love interest in a completely forgettable turn. It's not her fault, but she's in the film very little and only serves as eye candy. They don't give her anything to do. The style and look of the film gets it right, but some of it does look a little fake because of too much special effects. Gangster Squad wants to be the next Untouchables, but ends up being a completely disposable copy, although it can be fun to watch at times.

- jlewis07, Tuesday, May 7, 2013

4 stars

2013, just started out with a Bang. An explosive knockout. It's The Untouchables for the twenty first century. A highly stylized, ultra-cool and wickedly entertaining action-packed crime-drama. It's big, thrilling, funny and tremendously enjoyable from start to finish. A spectacular and hard-edged adrenaline-rush. A vintage, cops vs. criminals movie that delves right in the territory of a barrels blazing instant classic, with a energetic director and a gifted cast, Gangster Squad is definitely on the money and in the action. Director, Ruben Fleischer possibly crafts his masterpiece. A bold, explosive, a well character developed and exhilarating thrill-ride that's packed with non-stop action and awesome performances. The all-star cast all have great chemistry together. Josh Brolin is outstanding. Ryan Gosling is sensational. Sean Penn is magnificent, he is clearly having a great time playing this villain and him and Brolin square off against each other nicely. Emma Stone is terrific. Nick Nolte is wonderful. Brolin, Gosling, Robert Patrick, Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena and Giovanni Ribisi are all great together and are the team to route for. An excellent movie. I loved it. They don't get any better than this. This is the type of film that the just dont make anymore and is a huge welcome back in a stylish and fun way.

- allan913, Monday, February 25, 2013