We’re not sure if we’d go far as to describe it as ‘troubled,’ but “Gangster Squad” certainly hasn’t had the best luck. The period actioner, directed by “Zombieland” helmer Ruben Fleischer, was one of Warner Bros‘ great hopes for 2012, with an A-list cast assembled including Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin and Sean Penn. But after the Aurora shootings in July, the studio made the decision to pull advertising for the movie, delay the release from September until January, and reshoot the ending (which was originally a gunfight in a movie theater).
Since then, they’ve been playing things cool on the picture, but hot on the heels of the unveiling of a snazzy new poster for the film, a new trailer for the movie has arrived over at Apple. And it shows not so much that the film has changed wildly, but more that the approach to marketing has shifted over the last few months.
Josh Brolin, essentially a co-lead in the film, is downplayed in favor of more emphasis on Ryan Gosling and his romance with Emma Stone, although there’s still plenty of time devoted to Sean Penn and his depiction of legendary gangster Mickey Cohen, who Gosling, Brolin and their team, which also includes Michael Pena, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick and Giovanni Ribisi (with Nick Nolte as their commanding officer) are attempting to take down in post-war L.A.
Even so, we’re still less than sold on this. Though we’ve liked some of Fleischer’s work in the past, his mix of Michael Mann-style digital and Zack Snyder-style speed ramping and slo-mo seems ill-suited to the material, the cast look a little like they’re heading to a costume party, and the whole things smacks slightly of PG-13 tentpole version of “The Untouchables” or “L.A. Confidential.”
We hope we’re wrong, because the idea of watching this cast, in this environment, was always an appealing one. But release dates first in early September, then in early January, doesn’t suggest that the studio are wildly confident in the picture, and the buzz we’ve heard, and footage we’ve seen, hasn’t been terribly reassuring. Watch the trailer below (or in HD over at Apple) to see for yourselves, and let us know what you think in the comments section. “Gangster Squad” hits theaters on January 11th, 2013.