Jan 102013

Director Ruben Fleischer’s previous film, Zombieland (2009) was good, silly fun. Gangster Squad looks like it will be the same, only with better production values, and as a period piece.

The movie is based on a series of articles, later expanded into a book with the same title, by Paul Lieberman, about the efforts of a squad of police officers to rid Los Angeles of gangsters from the East Coast, during the late 1940s and 1950s. An accurate depiction of the squad would consist of endless scenes of them breaking into a gangster’s house to place an illegal bug, listening to the bug, and stopping known gangsters several times a day, in order to make it difficult for them to conduct their business. The closest to excitement occurred when they took visiting gangsters for a trip up to Mulholland Drive and placed a gun next to their heads before dropping them off at the county line, often without clothes.

While the potential for a gripping look at the toll the lifestyle takes on both the police and the gangsters exists, the director and writer decided to simply add shootouts. Judging by the trailer, a lot of shootouts. Which is fine, I like shootouts with Tommy Guns as much as the next person, probably more. I just worry that the increase in shootouts will be matched by corresponding decline in historical accuracy.