Take a great ensemble cast and excellent source material for a script, then put them together and what do you get?
The answer should be a hugely entertaining film, but sadly that's really not the case with Gangster Squad.
I suspect that it is going to be a film that's damned with faint praise by the public.
Individual scenes are sharp and snappy, if somewhat stereotypical, the dialogue is fine and the action sequences very well done, but the main problem is that there's no real fluidity, and neither is there a singular scene that blows you away.
At no point is there a moment when the film pulls itself out of the 'seen it all before, and often better' box.
The film just jumps from one scene to another in quite a clunky manner emulating plenty of movies of the genre that have come before it in what ultimately comes across as a lazy effort.
Sean Penn does a fantastic impression of Robert De Niro playing Mickey Cohen, the every-man gangster, but an actor of his calibre surely should be able to bring something new to the portrayal of the mob connected villain rather than reheating a performance that one of his peers has given the world so often.
Ryan Gosling who I am increasing becoming impressed with plays his character well, but there's no fireworks here.
Similarly Josh Brolin's stoic performance was passable, but often one dimensional.
Everyone is putting some effort in, but there's nobody bringing their A game to the project.
There's a severe lack of a performance from any of the cast that everything can hang on.
Nick Nolte is actually somewhat forgettable.
I really thought this was going to be in the style of The Black Dahlia, or LA Confidential, with a bit extra bang for your buck, but I was wrong.
While few people will come away from it horribly disappointed, equally there will be very few people raving about it either.
Bit of a damp squib really.