It used to be the case that Hollywood studios could be relied upon to put out hardboiled gangster movies on a semi-regular basis. But ever since they started focusing their attention exclusively on CGI-heavy “tentpole” productions, hardboiled gangster movies have become an increasingly scarce commodity. In the past five years, we’ve had Public Enemies, American Gangster, and…well, that’s about it. (OK, I suppose a case could be made for The Dark Knight).
That’s why the trailer for Gangster Squad is so exciting. With an all-star cast that includes Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin, and Nick Nolte, Ruben Fleischer’s follow-up to 30 Minutes or Less and Zombieland is the kind of cops and robbers saga that feels like it shouldn’t exist in the year 2012. Watching the trailer, you can’t help but think, “Oh a superhero movie set in 1940s L.A. That hasn’t been done before, I guess.” But, amazingly, no superhero ever shows up. Believe it or not, this actually seems to be the real deal.
Some could argue that Ruben Fleischer’s previous movies don’t exactly make him a natural candidate for this kind of project. But it’s important to remember that before he directed L.A. Confidential, Curtis Hanson’s major credits were The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild. So if anything, Fleischer’s lack of proper qualifications should be counted as a bonus.