Gangster Squad is described as “a colorful retelling of events” surrounding the LAPD’s efforts to take down Brooklyn-born, “Jewish Mafia” king Meyer Harris ‘Mickey’ Cohen (Oscar-winner Sean Penn) during the 1940s. The film was scripted by former LA cop Will Beall (who’s writing Justice League) and directed by Ruben Fleischer of Zombieland fame (he also helmed the forgettable 30 Minutes or Less).
The domestic Gangster Squad trailer teased Penn’s scenery-chewing as Cohen, along with the talented cast of actors playing the members of the titular, off-the-book squad (Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, etc.). Today, we have a shorter international trailer that features some previously-unseen footage – but mostly leaves the same impression as its U.S. counterpart (which is good, for us).
Fleischer’s Gangster Squad resembles Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables in many respects, including: a story that offers a hard-boiled retelling of real-life events; a larger-than-life portrait of an infamous crime boss, as played by a lauded thespian (Penn as Cohen in Gangster Squad, Robert De Niro as Al Capone in Untouchables) – and, a cast with seasoned veterans and rising stars, whose characters struggle to uphold the law – even as they threaten to cross the line between righteous cop and hardened criminal.
That’s to say: Gangster Squad could become the definitive crime tale for younger moviegoers that Untouchables is for an older generation, as it appears to feature a similar approach to storytelling (but more modern style and production values). Whether or not younger and older people will agree on the quality of Gangster Squad, well, that’s another matter.
Gangster Squad could have relatively broad appeal at the box office. People who are interested foremost in some flash and bang (stylized action, Gosling mackin’ on Emma Stone) should get their money’s worth, while other folk will be intrigued to see what actors such as Penn, Brolin, and Nick Nolte bring to the familiar cops-and-crooks proceedings.
Speaking of which: all eyes are going to be on Beall’s Gangster Squad screenplay, now that he’s confirmed to pen Warner Bros./DC’s live-action Justice League movie (re: DC’s answer to The Avengers). If Beall delivers an intelligent and innovative spin on over-used crime genre tropes with Gangster Squad, that’ll give more reason to believe that his Justice League script won’t amount to an Avengers knockoff.
Gangster Squad begins its theatrical run in the U.S. on September 7th, 2012.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures