In "Gangster Squad," a motley crew of cops join forces to take down mobster Mickey Cohen. They're led by war veteran John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) who thinks with his fists, a street-smart cop who's handy with a knife (Anthony Mackie), a quick-draw cowboy (Robert Patrick), the cynical cop who's out for vengeance (Ryan Gosling) and the techie (Giovanni Ribisi) who sets up critical wiretaps under Cohen's own nose.
The film draws on a long line of mission movies, from "The Magnificent Seven" to "The Untouchables," which inspired us to assemble a list of our favorite "men on a mission" movies. Of course, in any mission -- whether the goal is take down a gangster or a villain from another planet -- you've got to have a team of experts. Usually, you need brains, brawn, gadgets galore and guys who are handy with guns, knives, explosives or (depending on the situation) bow-and-arrow.
<strong>The mission</strong>: Overthrow a Latin American dictator <strong>The team</strong>: Former British SAS soldier Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) leads the team of mercenaries: knife specialist Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), martial artist Yin Yang (Jet Li), sniper Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture), all of whom get a chance to show off their deadly skills.
<strong>The mission</strong>: Take down a general who's threatening San Francisco with a deadly chemical weapon <strong>The team</strong>: Highly trained Navy SEALs reluctantly take along a former Alcatraz prisoner (Sean Connery) who knows The Rock better than anyone else and a chemical weapons specialist with zero field experience (Nicolas Cage). Of course, all the SEALs are killed off almost immediately and it's up to the old guy and the science nerd to save the day. Which they do.
<strong>The mission</strong>: Recover a list that would expose the covers of CIA agents around the world <strong>The team</strong>: Team leader Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), computer expert Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), pilot Franz Krieger (Jean Reno) and eye candy Claire (Emmanuelle Béart), who helps serve as visual distraction while Ethan infiltrates CIA headquarters. Not all of them end up being on Hunt's side, and his future mission mates in the three sequels proved more reliable.
<strong>The mission</strong>: Rescue a group of mutant children taken hostage by a man bent on destroying their kind <strong>The team</strong>: You've got mutants capable of setting you on fire (Pyro), changing their appearance (Mystique, who also can fly a plane and kick serious ass), summoning lightning, wind or fog (Storm) and reading and controlling people's minds (Professor X.) And, somehow, nearly all of them can fly. Together, they're unstoppable, except that they always seem to be fighting each other.
<strong>The mission</strong>: Rescue a rich man's wife from a Mexican bandit <strong>The team</strong>: Henry "Rico" Fardan (Lee Marvin) is a weapons specialist, Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) is an explosives expert, Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan) is a master horse wrangler and Jake Sharp (Woody Strode) is a scout whose favorite weapon is a bow and arrow. Once they set out, they learn their mission isn't quite what they'd been led to believe.
<strong>The mission</strong>: Assassinate top Nazi leaders <strong>The team</strong>: Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) recruits eight Jewish-American soldiers including the "Bear Jew" (Eli Roth), who likes to bash in Nazi's heads with a bat, and the guys who are loaded with dynamite to blow Der Führer to Kingdom Come. The Basterds join forces with an undercover British agent (Michael Fassbender), a former German sergeant who's switched sides (Til Schweiger), and a German film star and secret British informant (Diane Kruger).
<strong>The mission</strong>: Find and assassinate those responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics <strong>The team</strong>: Mossad agent Avner Kaufman (Eric Bana) is chosen to lead the assassination squad: Steve (Daniel Craig), a South African driver; Hans (Hanns Zischler), a document forger; Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), a toy-maker who's adept with explosives; and Carl (Ciarán Hinds), a former Israeli soldier who cleans up after they've taken out a target.
'The Magnificent Seven'
<strong>The mission</strong>: Save a small village from a ruthless bandit leader <strong>The team</strong>: Seven gunfighters, including a veteran gunslinger (Yul Brynner), the rookie (Horst Buchholz), a gambling drifter (Steve McQueen), and the guy who's lost his confidence (Robert Vaughn). Together, they form one of the most memorable, heroic groups in cinema history. And they've definitely got the best theme music.
'The Dirty Dozen'
<strong>The mission</strong>: A suicide assault on a secret meeting of Nazi officers <strong>The team</strong>: Twelve unredeemable convicts, including not-so-bright Vernon Pinkley (Donald Sutherland); black brawler Robert Jefferson (Jim Brown), the guy who can speak German (Charles Bronson), misogynist Maggott (Telly Savalas), and Victor Franko (John Cassavetes) the mobster with a serious attitude problem, all led by a tough-as-nails major (Lee Marvin) who'll whip them into shape or die trying.
'Guns of Navarone'
<strong>The mission</strong>: Destroy massive German guns and rescue 2,000 British sailors <strong>The team</strong>: Famous mountaineer (Gregory Peck), an explosives expert (David Niven), an engineer nicknamed "Butcher" who's handy with a knife (Stanley Baker), a former Greek army colonel (Anthony Quinn), the local who will guide them (James Darren) and their leader, an American major (Anthony Quayle).
'The Lord of the Rings'
<strong>The mission</strong>: Destroy the One Ring of power, ending Sauron's evil reign <strong>The team</strong>: Good-natured Hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood) is the Ring Bearer: He's joined by his faithful traveling companion Sam (Sean Astin), wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), ranger -- and rightful king -- Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and warrior Boromir (Sean Bean), not to mention a bow-and-arrow-wielding elf and an axe-toting dwarf, all of whom pledge their weapons and their lives to helping Frodo complete his mission. Even his hobbit pals Merry and Pippin and the evil Gollum play a role in their success.
<strong>The mission</strong>: Save the world from a mad demigod <strong>The team</strong>: Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), whose suit is a Swiss army knife of crime-fighting gadgets; God of Thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who wields his mighty hammer and can summon lightning at will; super soldier Captain America (Chris Evans); rampaging id monster The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); archery expert Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner); and assassin Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), whose arsenal includes stunning interrogation skills. Sure, they spend a good chunk of the movie attacking each other, but when they finally assemble to fight evil, yowza.
<strong>The mission</strong>: Infiltrate the mind of their target and plant the idea that he should break up his father's company <strong>The team</strong>: "Extractor" Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the mastermind thief who recruits Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as the Point Man; student Ariadne (Ellen Page) as the Architect of the dream space; Eames (Tom Hardy) as the Forger who can become anyone, male or female; and Yusuf (Dileep Rao) as the Chemist, who's responsible for keeping the team at the right level of unconsciousness.
'The Asphalt Jungle'
<strong>The mission</strong>: An ambitious jewelry heist <strong>The team</strong>: Criminal mastermind Erwin "Doc" Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe) plans the details; crooked lawyer Alonzo Emmerich (Louis Calhern) finances the operation; "hooligan" Dix Handley (Sterling Hayden) provides the muscle; Louie Ciavelli (Anthony Caruso) is the safecracker; and hunchbacked diner owner Gus Minissi (James Whitmore) is the getaway driver. Of course, everything that can go wrong does go wrong and only a few are left alive by film's end. <em>All heist movies are mission movies and this classic from 1950 is a beaut and a prime example of assembling the right team for the job. For more heist movies, like "Ocean's 11," <a href="http://blog.moviefone.com/2010/06/20/best-heist-movies/">see our list here</a>.</em>
<strong>The mission</strong>: Bring down mobster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) <strong>The team</strong>: Bureau of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) must recruit police who aren't already on Capone's extensive payroll. He finds the "untouchables" in veteran officer Jim Malone (Sean Connery); trainee and expert marksman George Stone (Andy García); and accountant Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith), who provides the pivotal idea to go after Capone for income tax evasion.