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"Gangster Squad" is one stylish shoot-em-up featuring a band of talented actors devouring and occasionally destroying the lush scenery. The screenplay by TV writer Will Beall is loosely based on the story of a band of cops working off the books to take down ruthless gangster Mickey Cohen.
They're not out to make arrests.
Josh Brolin gets the straight man role as the gangster squad head honcho while Sean Penn gets to have the real fun as Cohen.
Just so it's not all bullets and blood there's a side romance between Ryan Gosling's officer... and Emma Stone, Cohen's girlfriend. And I'm not sure why, but Gosling adopts a stupid high-pitched voice and accent for his character for no apparent reason.
In terms of plot points, and even some action sequences, "Gangster Squad" is definitely derivative of better movies like "The Untouchables" or even "Dick Tracy" but the cinematography and art direction are pristine. And despite the predictability, the movie is a good deal of fun.
Call it stylish slumming for everyone involved.
EPPLER'S RATING: * * *
Out of five stars