This is a violent, bloody R-rated territorial squabble set in the late 1940s between the LAPD and the Mickey Cohen/Bugsy Siegel East Coast Mob. This humor-laced (and bullet-ridden) outing pits East Coast gangsters against...hmm...not really a Dirty Dozen, more like a Slightly Soiled Six-Pack, of cops who have been anonymously recruited to run organized crime out of Los Angeles.
This is a highly fictionalized story inspired by real events. We see:
- Sean Penn ("Milk") is Mickey Cohen, with a nasty temper, brutal and merciless. I must say, Penn has become a caricature of himself....and he has NEVER learned to enunciate!
- Nick Nolte ("Warrior") is Police Chief Parker, the guy determined to keep Cohen and his cohorts from setting up shop in LA.
- Josh Brolin ("W.") is Sgt. John O'Mara, an Army vet, now a cop for the LAPD. He is hand picked for the job, and he in turn hand picks his own squad (with some help from his wife).
- Ryan Gosling ("Drive") is Sgt. Jerry Wooters, who first declines the "honor" of serving on the team, but then he gets mad... (with the Hollywoodland Real Estate developer's sign shining in the background.)
- Emma Stone ("The Amazing Spider-Man") is Grace, a favorite of Cohen's; Sgt. Wooters likes her, too....
- Robert Patrick ("Trouble With the Curve") is Max, otherwise known as "Hopalong" by this little gang because a six-shooter is his weapon of choice.
- Michael Peña ("End of Watch") is Navidad, who nominates himself to join up when Max is recruited.
- Giovanni Ribisi ("Avatar") is Conway, a technician who is invited into the project because he understands telecommunications...and this geek accepts because he would like to be a hero to his son.
- Anthony Mackie ("The Hurt Locker") is Coleman, the only law in his tough neighborhood. He just wants to stay OUT of Burbank!
- Yvette Tucker ("Me Again") gives us a perfectly splendid turn as Carmen Miranda. singing at Slapsy Maxie's nightclub during a raid.
This shoot-em-up seems like almost non-stop gunfire interspersed with blowie uppie stuff. There isn't as much profanity as usual, but the vehicular mayhem is fun with those big old 40s vintage cars swaying and lurching around corners.
Be sure to suspend disbelief, but be prepared to laugh more often than you might expect. Despite all the blood and gore, the screening audience was entertained, and that's what it's all about, isn't it?