First Hit: Violent and overdone.
This film is loosely based on the take down of Mickey Cohen as the gangster supreme in LA. Cohen (played by Sean Penn) came from the East to run LA for the mob.
The Chicago syndicate is finding Cohen to be unruly and not following their orders. The reality is that Cohen wants it all for himself. At a meeting with a Chicago representative he tells him that he’s old and will not follow Chicago’s rules. The funny thing is that Penn looked older than the guy he was talking to. Then there was Nick Nolte playing Chief Parker and quite frankly they needed to pick someone else.
To rein in Cohen, Parker gives Sargent John O’Mara (played by Josh Brolin) the freedom to pull together other cops who will leave their badges at home and stop Cohen any way they want. Sergeant Jerry Wooters (played by Ryan Gosling) is one of the people he chooses. He’s chosen because he’s smart and has a similar history as O’Mara.
One of the more difficult things is that Wooters has fallen in love with Cohen’s girlfriend Grace Faraday (played by Emma Stone). The film’s plot isn’t that interesting and the amount of overt violence by both the police and Cohen’s crew is uninteresting. Maybe the taking back of LA from Cohen went just as the film suggested, but it is not worth making a film about.
Penn is good at times and overdone at other times as Cohen. This is not his crowning role or film. Nolte is a waste and fully uninteresting as Parker. He didn’t bring anything of value to the role. Gosling is good, has some wonderful touching moments as only he can. Stone is OK as Cohen’s girlfriend but there lacked a depth of history as to how she became his girlfriend in the first place that made the whole thing unrealistic. Will Beall wrote a very mediocre script and Ruben Fleischer’s direction was at the same level.
Overall: This film is not worth seeing and is forgettable within hours after watching it.