It seems, however, that working on that bigger canvas – bigger cast, budget, etc. – either a natural choice because it creates an explosion of pleasant action, even if forgettable.
So the plot: Los Angeles, 1949, and Chicago gangster Mickey Cohen (Pen with prosthesis in grizzly fashion and screaming) seek to take over the City of Angels.
The veteran war sergeant O’Mara (Brolin forced to duty but who kicks the ass) and a bunch of cops permanently, the titular squad, have the mission to stop him.
Despite its setting and period, this is no Chinatown (although a cheeky camera movement sweeps over a sign in said part of town).
It’s more Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy from 1990, as the dark and grimy setting is transformed into a comic book-style festival of action – bullets fly, baddies ugly and good guys heroic; a true story of heroes versus villains.
There are moments that seek to add depth, the war heroes returning to the front lines who can’t stop fighting, and the team’s mastermind, Keeler, Giovani Ribisi’s technical manager, wondering where draw the line between being a cop and a jerk; but it barely scratches the surface.
Equally well, the surface is so scintillating with a daring and brash production, sweeping jazz sounds and crackling script with thorny dialogue that never takes itself too seriously (a scene where a failed thug meets a drill end- killer immediately cuts to a raw burger patty on a barbecue).
It’s sparkling and silly but extremely entertaining.
Good for: A good old-fashioned and indulgent escape
Featuring: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone | 15 | 112mins | Outside now