For a few weeks about a year ago, set photos of The Gangster Squad, Ruben Fleischer's follow-up to Zombieland (yay!) and 30 Minutes or Less (...um) lit up the Internet with glimpses of cast members Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Josh Brolin in costume. Yet nothing about those initial pictures indicated anything close to the look that the finished product appears to have, which certainly adds an element of surprise to Fleischer's next project. Based on Paul Lieberman's novel, the film chronicles the LAPD's fight to keep east coast mob members from claiming territory on the west coast. Incredibly stylized, Squad at least has a capable (if not terribly proven) director who has proven he can deeply immerse himself in a genre, and a really strong cast. All the same, there's a certain spark missing that would otherwise make this look like a must see, in spite of those involved. With John Hillcoat's Lawless already set to hit in August, Squad could come off as redundant. At the very least, Gosling's presence is a plus, not only because of his talent, but also because he has an eye for good projects, which many actors near or at his level lack, leading to less consistent filmographies. Hopefully he's right on the money here, and this isn't a rare misstep for him (and everyone else). And let's hope the marketing team re-cuts this trailer with a better choice of background music. It's a movie with machine guns, you don't need modern music to somehow 'connect with' modern audiences.
Trailer Grade: B-