Blu-Ray Review: ‘Gangster Land’ Packs A Punch With “Machine Gun” Storytelling

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Often a popular movie will inspire other storylines to reach the silver screen, and it’s easy to see that director/writer Timothy Woodward Jr. was inspired by The Untouchables in making Gangster Land. From the punchy dialogue to its propulsive score, Gangster Land definitely takes a few pages from the Brian De Palma classic.

That being said, Gangster Land offers new insight into the genre, as we follow the life of Machine Gun Jack McGurn (Sean Faris, effective at being edgy), a former amateur boxer who becomes Al Capone’s (Milo Gibson) right hand man in 1920s Chicago. McGurn is best known as the orchestrator behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and, since I’m not one to give away spoilers, the rest of McGurn’s life is also one for the history books.

The Sopranos vet Jamie-Lynn Sigler plays McGurn’s love interest and Peter Facinelli (Twilight) co-starring as Capone and McGurn’s nemesis “Bugs” Moran. A tip of the hat to Woodward Jr. for casting Don Harvey, who worked with De Palma in Casualties of War, as one of the detectives who tries to put McGurn back on the straight and narrow path (Jason Patric is the other cop assigned to clean up Chicago’s crime ridden streets).

The biggest surprise of Gangster Land is that Milo Gibson, son of Mel Gibson, holds his own as Al Capone, and his scenes with Faris simply crackle. Their friendship and mutual savagery is believable, and their chemistry, along with the joy of watching a solid ensemble go to work, make Gangster Land a highly entertaining watch. It may not have the cinematic mastery or production values of The Untouchables, but few films reach that mark anyway. Gangster Land has enough punches in its arsenal to survive more than a few rounds, and it’s great to see McGurn’s life given the cinematic treatment.

Gangster Land is now out on Blu-ray and DVD via Cinedigm.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

DVD RELEASES – NOVEMBER 10TH, 2009

Movies on DVD

uglytruth

A morning show producer (Katherine Heigl), who can’t find love, is dragged into a series of excessive romantic tests by her chauvinistic correspondent (Gerard Butler) in The Ugly Truth.  Are there any movies this year without Gerard Butler?

Special Features: Select scenes and director commentary, deleted and extended scenes, alternate endings plus a gag reel (always good for a laugh), The Truth Is Ugly: with male and female povs and the art of laughter.

up

An elderly man ties thousands of balloons to his home and sets off to see South America.  Problem is, he’s not alone and it’s only after taking off that he discovers a boy has stowed away for the ride in UpPixar animation rocks and Up is an example of why.

Special Features: Exclusive animated short film – Dug’s Special Mission, plus a funny theatrical short entitled Partly Cloudy.

accidentalhusband

The Accidental Husband is a comical cautionary tale about a radio talk show host (Uma Thurman) who advises one of her listeners to kick her boyfriend (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to the curb.  Naturally, the jilted guy sets out on a mission to get even.

Special Features: Matters of the Heart: a making-of featurette.

spread

Spread, stars Ashton Kutcher as a man who has slept his way into a privileged life.  Spread is a look at the seduction of money, sex and Hollywood combined.

Special Features: Living The Dream – the making of Spread doc, the world According to Nikki where the viewer goes behind the scenes with actor/producer Ashton Kutcher, audio commentary with Kutcher along with co-stars Anne Heche and Margarita Levieva.

TV on DVD

jag

JAG: The Ninth Season is five discs over 16 hours and 52 minutes worth of military courtroom action. That should be enough of a special feature for any fan.  This show was a hit with a consistent fanbase.

nashbridges

Nash Bridges: The Third Season revolves around a San Francisco police investigator (Don Johnson), who is successful in his career, but not so good in his personal life.  The DVD contains five discs.

untouchables

Nostalgia Alert: Untouchables: Season 3, Volume 2 contains three discs of crime-solving adventures.  Special Agent, Eliot Ness heads up an team of dedicated agents to battle organized crime in 1930s Chicago.  The series stars Robert Stack and is narrated by Walter Winchell.

dragonball

DragonBall: Season Two is five discs of the anime series following the adventures of an uber strong boy searching for seven dragon balls, which can grant the owner any one wish.

Rating: TV14 Parents Strongly Cautioned – may contain materials inappropriate for children under 14.

sesamestreet

Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days in only two discs, but they’re stacked with memories.

Special Features: Over four-and-a-half hours of the best Sesame Street episodes, over 50 minutes of the rarest, never-before-seen backstage footage, interviews, pop-up facts the history of the show, segments from all 40 seasons, plus a limited-edition book and a sneak peek at a new computer-generated segment entitled Abby’s Flying Fairy School.