Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad managed to land a spot on our 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012 list – and today, we have a trailer that should make it pretty crystal clear why.

Stylish 1940s atmosphere, a star-studded cast that includes Sean Penn owning the screen as a power-hungry crime boss – with Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling as the heads of a hard-boiled police unit, which is operating outside the law in order to take the mobster down – plus some creative set pieces (see: the theater shootout, featured in the trailer) and Emma Stone as a sultry femme fatale, to top it off?

More of that, please.

Here is an official synopsis for Gangster Squad (followed by the film’s banner):

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and–if he has his way–every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.

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Former LAPD employee Will Beall (a onetime executive story editor/writer for Castle) penned Gangster Squad, which was based on Paul Lieberman’s famous collection of LA Times articles about the city police department’s attempts to take down Mickey Cohen (a real-life head of the “Jewish Mafia”) around the mid-20th century. Cohen, as it were, is such a larger-than-life figure that he’s also the inspiration for The Walking Dead TV show creator Frank Darabont’s upcoming television series, L.A. Noir.

Penn looks to do justice by the actual Mickey Cohen with his portrayal in Gangster Squad – in fact, every cast member featured in the trailer looks spot-on for their respective parts. Similarly, this early footage suggests a slick cops & crooks drama along the lines of American Gangster or Public Enemies; with a little luck, this could even prove to be a crime tale that follows in the footsteps of The Untouchables. (Not exactly what you’d call shabby company to keep, right?)

One thing’s for sure: Gangster Squad should help wipe away lingering memories of Fleischer’s uninspired, sophomore feature-length directing effort, 30: Minutes or Less.

Gangster Squad is currently without an official U.S. theatrical release date (despite having one previously). We will let you know when that changes.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers