Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!

The Gangster Squad also known as “Gangster Squad,” “Fuerza antigángster,” “Brigada de élite,” “Caça aos Gângsteres,” “Elita gangsterilor,” “Força Anti-Crime,” “Gangsterisota,” “Gangsteriu medziotojai,” “Gangsterski odred,” “Gengszterosztag,” “L.A. Gang Story,” “Oi dioktes tou eglimatos”

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for strong violence and language.

Reviewed by: Russell Emory

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Action Crime Drama Adaptation
1 hr. 53 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
January 11, 2013 (wide—3,000+ theaters)
DVD: April 23, 2013
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

organized crime / mafia

police corruption

This movie is based on the Los Angeles Times’ seven-part series “Tales From the Gangster Squad,” a chronicle of the LAPD’s fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s.

novel: Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman

about the real, ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey CohenMickey Cohen, who was portrayed in other movies, including: “Bugsy” and “L.A. Confidential

1940s and ‘50s Los Angeles Police Department

murder in the Bible


illegal drugs

illegal sex: prostitutes and sexual slaves

illegal gambling

sin and the Bible

depravity of mankind

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Featuring: Sean PennMickey Cohen
Ryan GoslingSgt. Jerry Wooters
Josh BrolinSgt. John O’Mara
Emma StoneGrace Faraday
Nick NolteChief Parker
Michael PeñaOfficer Navidad Ramirez
Giovanni RibisiOfficer Conway Keeler
Holt McCallanyKarl Lennox
Anthony MackieOfficer Coleman Harris
See all »
Director: Ruben Fleischer—“Zombieland
Producer: Langley Park Productions
Lin Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures
Bruce Berman … executive producer
See all »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“No names. No badges. No mercy.”

Usually when a movie has its release date pushed back, it’s because it’s a bad movie. “Gangster Squad” is no exception. Now, “Gangster Squad” was not pushed back from its original September release date, because it is a bad movie. It was pushed back to reshoot a movie theater shootout scene in light of the July 20th, Aurora, Colorado theater shooting.

It really doesn’t matter; the movie should have been shelved indefinitely. The story is set in 1949 Los Angeles and stars Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, and Emma Stone. Penn stars as Mickey Cohen, a mobster who runs L.A. He is setting up a wire service that will allow him to run all gambling in the western United States. Brolin’s character John O'Mara is a clean cop who is tasked with putting together a group of police officers to take down Cohen and his operation. Stone stars as Cohen’s girlfriend Grace Faraday who begins an affair with Gosling’s character Jerry Wooters, who is also a member of O'Mara’s squad, further complicating things.

The story is basically the squad hitting one of Cohen’s operations, celebrating, then hitting another, celebrating, hitting another, Cohen striking back, and then a final showdown. Overall, pretty simple.

Morally, this film is bankrupt. There aren’t many redeeming characteristics to any of the characters. Brolin’s character has a moment with a kid whose father has died, but it is hardly believable or emotional. Gosling’s character tells Stone’s that he is a Bible salesman to get her into bed. Overall, it is a pretty amoral film.

There is no spirituality in the film, whatsoever. The only mention is again Gosling’s character posing as a “Bible salesman,” but other than that, there is no mention of God, unless His name is being taken in vain.

As for sex and nudity, there is a scene where a woman is pole dancing, there is an attempted rape at the beginning of the film, and there is an implication that a number of women are being held as sex slaves by Cohen.

Violence and gore is off the charts. I really don’t even feel comfortable describing any of the violence in the film, because it is just so over the top.

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

There is a lot of profanity—almost too much to count. It is a wonder that between the amount of profanity uttered by Penn’s character alone and the violence, that this movie stayed in the R rated range.

I urge you to avoid this movie, at all costs. It is poorly made, poorly acted, and poorly written. Sean Penn for the entirety of the movie seems to be doing a poor Sylvester Stallone impression. Brolin is unemotional and unbelievable. Gosling and Stone have no chemistry, and the voice that Gosling uses for his character makes him sound like a child, not a Los Angeles police detective. Avoid this movie, even if it comes on TNT, and you have nothing better to do—read a book or take a nap.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme—GD (10), JC (3), “For Chr_st’s sakes” (2), “J_sus,” “Oh J_sus,” “Swear to God,” f-words (20), slang for male and female genitals (4), s-word (9), “hell” (14), “_ss” (8), SOB (8), damn (7) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy

“VOTING” FOR BAD MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This will be my third time to “review” a movie on this site, I mean leave feedback on a movie. The above reviewer did an okay job of giving you the story and content of the movie, but then went on to share his/her personal belief (which I think is right to do), I’m tired of Christians going to movies made by Non Christians and expecting something other than what is made, i.e., it’s rated R for a reason (this means people who are not Christians found it to have questionable content, so, of course, a Christian should find it to have questionable content).

From a movie and story standpoint, this film is well done, with a throw back feel to the detective movies of the ‘40s and ‘50s; there is blood and swearing, as well as some nudity, so use caution when putting something before your eyes that may cause you to stumble as a believer. But if you want a film were the Bad guys are Bad, and the Good guys are Good, and Good Guys win. Then this is your film. I’m a believer who has a passion for movies, and the way they can be used to tell biblical truths through story. It just is so weird to me how we as Christians expect a Godless Hollywood to come out with something other than what they put out. So if you pay to see a rated R film, know that they rate it R for a reason, and check out this site or other sites to find out why, then make the call if it’s worth it to set the movie before your eyes.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Ricky H., age 33 (USA)
Positive—I don’t understand how critics and reviewers didn’t like this. The script was quite poor at times, but the acting was good, as well as the action scenes. I expected it to be a slow, boring movie like “Public Enemies,” but it was a full out action film. People said Penn overacted and was a lame, stereotypical villain. I thought we was fine. He was an ex world champ boxer, so of course he is going to be proud, snotty jerk!

The movie wasn’t as violent as everyone is saying, but the bad parts are off screen and implied. The shootouts and fistfights are out of this world awesome. All in all see this! The language isn’t as much as a typical R rated film, and there isn’t any nudity. The “sex” scene is brief, and just showing how broken and corrupt the town and all its citizens are. And that was along the lines of the scene in “Dark Knight Rises.” I would go so far as to say the movie is find for ages 16+. If you aren’t fine with that, buy a Clearplay or skip the club and love scene entirely.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Jason, age 18 (USA)


PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.