Iffy for 16+
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.
- 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?
The good stuff
Messages: There's often a stiff price to pay for doing what's right, especially when everyone else is willing to look the other way and ignore evil, to take the easy path, and let bad guys get away with whatever they want. John O'Mara and the rest of the gangster squad take great risks to fight the mob and don't get recognition for their accomplishments, but in the end their biggest reward is knowing they did the right thing and made the city a better place.
Role models: O'Mara takes no prisoners in his lopsided fight against the Los Angeles mob. He's outgunned and gets almost no support from his colleagues in the corrupt LAPD, but he refuses to back down, even when it means risking his life. It's worth examining whether his actions -- including completely ignoring any semblance of due process to wage war on the mob -- are justified by his worthy goals.
What to watch for
Violence: Near non-stop brutal, often-bloody violence as the gangster squad takes on the mob. Gunfights in city streets look more like small wartime battles, with dozens of men blasting away with machine guns, handguns, and even hand grenades. Some people are killed execution style, with gunshots to the head at close range, and others are tortured on screen (dragged apart by two vehicles, pounded with a mallet-like device, killed with a power drill), with bloody bodies/spatters shown. Several intense fist fights (with wince-inducing sound effects) leave participants battered and bloody. One near-rape.
Sex: A mostly unclothed couple is shown kissing and bantering in bed. Several references to prostitution, including a corrupt judge who likes to spend time with hookers. The gangsters are involved in running brothels.
Language: Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "c--k," "ass," "whore," "hell," "son of a bitch," "damn," "goddamn," and more.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several characters smoke cigarettes, as was common during the period. People also drink wine, champagne, and beer at nightclubs and parties and sometimes move on to harder liquor. A few of the hardened cops and mobsters pull from hip flasks, and men sometimes sit down with several stiff drinks after an intense experience or tragedy. The gangsters are involved in the drug trade.
Fan Reviews provided by
Dang That Gangster Squad by Darkola
First off, I would advise anyone who read "critic" reviews to simply ignore them, as they gave this movie pretty bad reviews. I went with my wife today, expecting just an ok movie, but found myself really enjoying this movie, and wondered why critics didnt like it for what it was. There are alot of top name actors in this movie, and they all equally pulled their parts and did great jobs. This movie is based around ganster Mickey Cohen, and the group of police that formed together to take him and his mafia type out of Las Angelas. This movie was inspired by true events, in otherwords, the story is going to be doctored up some to make for a better movie, I'm not sure of the whole story on how he was taken down, but found the movie to be entertaining in the way he was taken down none the less. This all happened in the 1940/50's era, and they did a great job depicting that time on film. I'd recommend seeing this movie, and would give it 3 out of 4 stars myself, enjoy :)
Mickey Cohen Fan Fiction by MedRed
Based on the trailer and the subject material, I assumed Gangster Squad would be a story driven mob movie. After noticing the sub 2 hour run time when ordering tickets, I realized it would be a lot more action driven.
Gangster Squad is a fun movie that overflows with testosterone. The plot is simple, predictable, and often cheesy. This movie exceeded the level of violence I was anticipating. That's not a bad thing.
Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, and Josh Brolin all give very respectable performances...especially when considering the script. The set designs are authentic retro.
For the record, Gangster Squad is a complete work of fiction. It in no way coincides with the life and times of the actual Mickey Cohen.
If you're looking for a quick shoot 'em up high and don't mind a predictable plot, Gangster Squad will definitely fit the bill.
If you like my reviews, add me as a fan. I'll add you back!
Better than I thought, but not great. Dont listen to Critics...ever by starjowns
After reading some reviews that described a lot of action, violence and fun dialogue, I decided to go. I see why the critics panned it because I was actually enjoying it, a lot of action, great acting. I just got a little bored in the middle of it, started and ended really well, just runs a little longer than need be to establish their point. But not bad, if you like stuff like Sin City and Lawless, this should be right up your alley.
OSCAR REEL! by foreveraircalgal
THIS MAY BE A FILM REEL; YET. IT HITS HOME WITH NO-HOLDS-BARRED REALISM! WASN'T THERE (JUST 2YRS OLD); BUT, SURE FELT REAL! GREAT ACTING BY SEAN PENN, WITH RYAN AND JOSH HOLDING THEIR OWN. NOW I KNOW WHY LAPD HDQ'S WAS NAMED PARKER CENTER; AND, FOR WHOM AND WHY!!!
INCREDIBLE!!! by kacihiggins
The character development is so rich, the setting, costumes, & make-up so authentic, & the fight scenes spine tingling & heart pounding! I want to see this over & over!!
Violent but Good !! by Stokley
There is a great deal of violence in this film. Sean Penn did an amazing job as Mickey Cohen... he was a nasty, ruthless ******* who you wanted to be blown away all through the film. I loved Ryan Gosling and Emma Stones chemistry. But, if you do not want to see horrific violence to not go to this movie. It is violent from the beginning to end....
A Typical Gangster Movie by big_screen_cowboy
Although I like visual period films that's about the only thing that set this movie apart. Halfway through the movie I told myself, "This is nothing special.".
excellent movie... by agray10
Gosling and Brolin delivered really strong performances..I thought movie was just going to be a shoot em up gangster flick but the story is more deeper than that...Sean Penn gets a good nod as well...very convincing Micky Cohen...go see this movie!!!
Gangster Squad by cquattrin
Excellent good guys/bad guys movie. More bullets than Predator. Violent but not too gorey. And who wouldn't love to see see Sean Penn get his face beat in?
Great acting! by celianoemi
It is a good movie to watch at home on friday night. I was expecting more between Ryan G. and Emma S.,since I love them to work together.I felt like the over all movie wasn't connected from one scene of the story to the other. Great acting btw!I just wanted to see more about the real story and more about how it changed after the bad boy was taken in jail. I just want to say that it was good but it could have done better!