Josh Brolin was never much of a hugger.


Josh Brolin was never much of a hugger.

GANGSTER SQUAD

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. LOS ANGELES, 1949

JOSH BROLIN (V.O.)

Evening, folks. As you can tell from this hard-boiled narration, you are now watching a throwback to the noirish, cynical crime movies of old like White Heat and The Maltese - hang on a second.

He BEATS UP SOME THUGS with his ULTRA-STYLIZED COP-FU.

JOSH BROLIN (V.O.)

Yeah, as I was saying, a throwback to movies like White Heat and The Maltese Falcon, only if those movies were directed by current-day Guy Ritchie.

(pause)

You know, one day people are going to look back and realize that those movies didn't HAVE narration. And now, this one doesn't either. Bye bye!

SEAN PENN

Fucking Josh Brolin, beating up my thugs and raiding my crimequarters! He shall soon taste the fury of my weirdly not giving a shit about him and leaving him completely alone! I will, however, have to burn down the place he raided. Like, right now, while we're in it. The ground floor of this building is on fire, is what I'm saying.

HENCHMAN

Um, what?

SEAN PENN

Don't worry, that's what fire escapes are for. Speaking of which, let's hope we can get there before the fireball that's currently rushing up the elevator shaft OH FUCK THIS WAS A BAD PLAN

(flees)

INT. SWANKY NIGHTCLUB

JOSH is hanging with his cop pal RYAN GOSLING.

RYAN GOSLING

Look, heroics are nice and all, but you should really be more careful about pissing off a dangerous guy like Sean Penn, you know? Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to publicly seduce Sean Penn's girlfriend while he's in the room.

(approaches Emma Stone)

Hey, baby, feel like doing something suicidally stupid?

EMMA STONE

Sure. Just don't try that Dirty Dancing move on me again, that was idiotic.

INT. IDYLLIC SUBURBAN HOME

JOSH returns home to his PREGNANT WIFE.

MIREILLE ENOS

Goddamn it, Josh, with a baby on the way I need you to promise to stop putting yourself in danger like this!

JOSH BROLIN

All right, I promise.

NICK NOLTE

Hey Josh, I'm starting up a special, ultra-violent squad of-

JOSH BROLIN

Yes okay good yes let's go.

MIREILLE ENOS

Aw, come on! You could at least have tried to look a little conflicted!

JOSH BROLIN

Look conflicted? Like, with my face? How would that even work?

MIREILLE ENOS

Well, I hate this plan! It's dumb and reckless and it's going to get you KILLED!

(pause)

So, how can I help?

JOSH BROLIN

Okay, you can help me pick out my team. We'll be doing all kinds of highly illegal black-bag stuff, so I figure I'll get a bunch of ambitious straight-arrow goody two-shoeses.

MIREILLE ENOS

How about instead: not that, you idiot.

JOSH BROLIN

You really are the brains of the operation! By default, but still.

MIREILLE ENOS

Here are the guys you should pick. You've got your close friend, a weary veteran, a fresh-faced rookie, a nerdy moral center, and a black guy.

JOSH BROLIN

I don't understand. Are they ALL gonna die?

EXT. RANDOM BACKLOT

JOSH assembles RYAN, ROBERT PATRICK, MICHAEL PENA, GIOVANNI RIBISI and ANTHONY MACKIE at a makeshift FIRING RANGE.

JOSH BROLIN

All right, first let's all learn how to aim our guns. Because we don't know how to do that, obviously, we're only fucking police officers after all.

RYAN GOSLING

Even if we do need to get in some target practice, does it need to be shooting cans in some back yard? Can't we do it, say, at the police firing range, since we're fucking police officers? Seriously, what the hell is this scene?

ROBERT PATRICK

Sorry, this is my bad. I need to pass on my Wild West gunslinging skills to Michael, it's basically the only character moment I have in this movie.

MICHAEL PENA

Mine too, now that you mention it.

ANTHONY MACKIE

At least you guys get that much. My character is listed in the script as "Man Number Six".

INT. BAD GUY CASINO

JOSH AND PALS gather to take down their first SEAN PENN CRIME PARLOR.

JOSH BROLIN

Now remember, as far as anyone knows, we're not cops. As long as everyone thinks these attacks are just by rival criminals, nobody will suspect that - oh man, are we seriously ripping off The Green Hornet right now? That's just embarrassing.

They STORM IN WIELDING GUNS, and promptly get arrested. The corrupt cops call SEAN down to the station, but luckily the squad is able to escape before he arrives.

CORRUPT COP

D'oh! And we didn't get mug shots or fingerprints either, because I guess we just fake arrested them!

JOSH BROLIN

Okay, we fucked up, but now we know what not to do. So how are we going to change our strategy to make sure this doesn't happen again?

RYAN GOSLING

I know, how about we do everything exactly the same way, only from now on there happen to be no cops at any of the places we raid?

JOSH BROLIN

Ingenious!

They SMASH SEAN'S OPERATIONS for a while.

JOSH BROLIN

Good good, but we still don't know where his SUPER DUPER operation is. Ryan, think you could pump Emma for information? I'm sure Sean spills all his top-secret plans to the floozy he's banging.

RYAN GOSLING

No way, man! I'm not about to put her life in danger!

JOSH BROLIN

You mean, like you did when you personally planted a bug in Sean's TV, in the house where Emma is the newest, least trusted resident and the first person he'd suspect if the bug was ever found? And then didn't warn her about it?

RYAN GOSLING

Or when I simply started dating her in the first place, sure. But I refuse to endanger her this specific time in this specific way.

But it's all right, the squad FINDS SEAN'S BIG MAIN OPERATION ANYWAY. They then SMASH IT TO PIECES, and for the coup de grace, BURN ALL THE CASH ON THE PREMISES.

RYAN GOSLING

Really feels like we could have just taken the money.

JOSH BROLIN

And become petty thieves? After everything else this squad has done has been so noble and above-board? For shame!

RYAN GOSLING

All right, as long as you're sure this won't serve as a huge, obvious clue to Sean that-

SEAN PENN

THEY'RE FUCKING COPS! The only thing to do with an honest cop is KILL THEM, which is the opposite of what I said about Josh at the beginning of the movie!

EMMA STONE

Oh shit, they're going to be looking for bugs and spies now! I better get out of here, and above all I better make NO effort whatsoever to let Ryan and his friends know that Sean's onto them.

INT. GANGSTER SQUAD HEADQUARTERS

GIOVANNI is listening to the bug they planted in SEAN'S TV.

JOSH BROLIN

Any idea yet what all those room-searching and television-dismantling noises which must have happened were all about?

GIOVANNI RIBISI

No idea, but listen to this:

SEAN PENN

GEE, I SURE HOPE THOSE RIVAL CRIMINALS DON'T GO AND CHECK OUT THAT LAUNDRY VAN IN CHINATOWN. THE ONE WHERE I'VE HIDDEN ALL MY CRIMES. THAT'S THE LAUNDRY VAN. IN CHINATOWN.

JOSH BROLIN

Sweet, let's go and check out that incredibly specific location!

Everybody leaves except GIOVANNI, who continues to monitor the bug, all alone and defenseless.

GIOVANNI RIBISI

Okay, now Sean is narrating an anecdote to an empty room. That seems perfectly normal to me. And now it sounds like he's picked up the microphone and is talking directly into it. Yessir, nothing alarming about-

(murdered)

EXT. CHINATOWN

JOSH approaches the VAN, but it's an ambush!

JOSH BROLIN

Oh no, Sean Penn's armed goons! At a time and place that Sean Penn said he had a big crime going down! We are completely unprepared for this eventuality!

The squad FLEES.

SEAN PENN

Aha, now that one of my henchmen saw Josh's face briefly from a distance, I know exactly who he is and where he lives!

HENCHMAN

You want I should wait outside his house and kill him when he gets home, boss?

SEAN PENN

Nah, just shoot the house from outside while he's not there. Maybe we'll get lucky and kill his wife, who knows.

They DON'T.

INT. RYAN'S HOUSE

EMMA shows up at RYAN'S place.

EMMA STONE

Sean's looking for me! You gotta help me get out of town!

RYAN GOSLING

Okay, you should go see Sullivan Stapleton. You know, seemingly the one mutual acquaintance that you and Sean have?

EMMA STONE

Perfect! Sean would NEVER think I'd be such a colossal dumbass as to go there!

She goes to get SULLIVAN'S help, but SEAN AND HIS THUGS show up and kill him!

EMMA STONE

NOOOO, not... uh... I want to say Solomon?

SEAN PENN

Hee hee, that was fun! Now, what were we here for? I feel like we were going to look for somebody. Somebody who would be very easy to find, as she's just standing behind that fence there. Oh well, if it's important I'm sure I'll remember it later.

(leaves)

EMMA beats a hasty retreat back to RYAN.

EMMA STONE

Ryan, I just saw Sean kill whosit. I'm willing to testify against him.

RYAN GOSLING

Awesome! Now we can just arrest him for this one murder, thus rendering everything else we've done in this movie completely moot.

EMMA STONE

How are you going to protect me, though?

RYAN GOSLING

It's okay, once Sean's behind bars his entire criminal empire will come to a crashing halt and there will be no repercussions for anybody. This appears to be both the presumption we're working on, and what actually winds up happening.

EXT. SEAN'S FORTRESS

The SQUAD all approach SEAN'S HEAVILY-FORTIFIED HOTEL LAIR.

JOSH BROLIN

Geez, look how many men he's got waiting for us. It's going to be tough for the five of us to get to Sean through all that.

MICHAEL PENA

Question: why IS it just the five of us? This isn't a top-secret black ops mission anymore. We've got a warrant and everything. Shouldn't we have cops lined up around the block?

JOSH BROLIN

Uh, all the other cops were having their hair done. Now come on, let's bring down Sean's fortress through the brilliant tactics of all of us marching in through the front doors, and hope he doesn't figure out we have absolutely no backup and just sneak out the rear!

They SHOOT A BUNCH OF BAD GUYS. Then some MORE BAD GUYS POP UP and they SHOOT THEM TOO. Then some MORE BAD GUYS POP UP and they SHOOT THEM TOO. Then some MORE BAD GUYS POP UP and they SHOOT THEM TOO.

RYAN GOSLING

Ugh, this is like watching somebody play Call of Duty in slow motion. Can we at least get a good-guy death so we can have any kind of tension here?

JOSH BROLIN

Fine. Who do we have who's completely expendable...

ANTHONY MACKIE

UH OH.

JOSH BROLIN

...yet who has had at least the most basic, half-assed amount of characterization necessary for the audience to give a shit about them?

ANTHONY MACKIE

Oh phew.

ROBERT gets SHOT.

ROBERT PATRICK

Fuck! Okay, Michael, I'm down for the count, looks like it's time for you to save the day with the marksmanship skills I taught you. Shoot that guy who's advancing on Josh!

MICHAEL PENA

Who, that big guy, twenty feet away, who's walking slowly in this general direction but hasn't noticed us? Why not something more challenging, like the broadside of a barn, or the fucking ground?

With a sigh, MICHAEL shoots the BAD GUY.

SEAN PENN

Hey, that was my last henchman! Damnit, I guess I surrender.

JOSH BROLIN

All right, now all I have to do is take you in! But first, how about I beat your face in, making this arrest insanely illegal and ensuring you walk free?

He gets into a PUNCH-UP with the surrendering SEAN, but this conveniently has NO CONSEQUENCES.

JOSH BROLIN (V.O.)

Oh hey, more narration. So yeah, Sean was convicted of murder, and then got killed in prison. All gang crime stopped in LA forever, and we all lived happily ever after.

RYAN GOSLING (V.O.)

What a simplistic ending. Couldn't we have gone with something more complex, like Sean gets caught on tax evasion, then he's in and out of prison over the years but eventually just dies at home in his sleep, like what happened to gangster Mickey Cohen?

JOSH BROLIN (V.O.)

...But Sean WAS Mickey Cohen. That's who he was playing. This was the true story of how Mickey Cohen was brought down.

RYAN GOSLING (V.O.)

What?

END.

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