Gangster Squad (2013)

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A hard-nosed cop sick of his apathetic and corrupt police department is selected to head a special team charged with driving an underworld boss out of business and out of town.

Gangster Squad was not particularly well received upon its release, but I suspect that the post war setting and visual style of Film Noir meant that many critics were expecting another Chinatown or L.A. Confidential. But it’s called “Gangster Squad” for God’s sake! If you choose watch it for what it is, namely a comic strip action movie with some nice vintage fashions, it’s a pretty entertaining gangster flick that’s more Dick Tracy than Sam Spade. In fact the whole feel of the film is more that of a western than a cop film and seems in places to be trying to be The Magnificent Seven with Tommy guns. It never addresses the morality of the squad’s dubious methods so can hardly be considered as gritty and realistic and it does get a little mawkish in places, but it’s a fast-paced, action packed and visually appealing slice of Pulp Fiction that consistently entertains.

True it’s no L.A. Confidential, but it never pretends to be and it’s a lot better than Brian DePalma’s absurdly over-rated The Untouchables.

7/10

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