"Copshop" stars Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Ryan O'Nan, and Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau. Released on September 17, 2021, the film depicts a showdown between a hitman, a con artist, a rookie cop, and an assassin.
The film was directed by Joe Carnahan, who also directed films such as "Smokin' Aces", "The A-Team", "The Grey", and "Boss Level". What do you get when you put three dangerous criminals inside a police station? You get something completely chaotic. We are continuing the month of action with a film that hearkens back to the old-school thrillers from the 70s. I don't know about you, but I'm already liking September regarding the genre. This is another film that looked generic on paper but immediately caught my attention when I watched its trailer for the first time. It's got two recognizable action stars and a small setting that's surprisingly fitting for its mayhem. What's not to love? It's no surprise that Gerard Butler is still on top of his game in the thriller genre recently. Whether his films are good or not, it's always nice to see him continue to provide some entertainment for his audience and get a lot of paychecks in the process. Was he able to do the same for this latest thriller? More importantly, was it exciting enough to get people into the theater? Let's jump right into the chaos and find out.
The story takes place in Nevada, where a con artist named Teddy Murretto (Grillo) is on the run from Bob Viddick (Butler), a professional hitman hired to kill him. Murretto hatches a plan to outrun him for good by getting himself arrested by rookie cop Valerie Young (Louder). His haven inside a small-town police station was quickly destroyed when Viddick got himself in the cell as well. When a mobster named Anthony Lamb (Huss) arrives at the scene, the station becomes a bloody battleground, forcing the three people to work together to survive. This is another action film with only one goal in mind: providing a fun time. It didn't need to have an award-winning story to be good. It just needed to embrace its fun and chaotic action and heart-pounding thrills while balancing them with an exciting scenario. "Copshop" was able to do that by taking three criminals and one rookie officer and having them battle each other in a small police station. While the final result wasn't as highly insane as I hoped it would be, it's still a nicely directed thriller that drenches in 70s-style goodness. Joe Carnahan has a knack for providing some fun sequences without taking the film's concept too seriously. Take a look at his previous film, "Boss Level", and you'll see what I mean. Despite a few pacing issues during its first half, Carnahan managed to deliver some pulses in the characters' interactions and reward those who are patient with a simplistic yet energetic shoot-em-up finale. Gerard Butler remains a charismatic force, thanks to his attention-grabbing performance as Bob, and Frank Grillo managed to follow suit with his role as Teddy. However, the film's real stars go to Alexis Louder and Toby Huss as Valerie and Anthony Lamb, respectively. This was my first time seeing Louder in the spotlight. She has been in other films and shows before "Copshop", but her roles in them were highly unrecognizable to me. All I can say about her performance here is that I hope she gets more roles like this in the future. Louder nailed Valerie's tough-as-nails personality almost perfectly regarding her impressive acting skills. As for Huss, I can quickly tell that he was having fun playing a psychotic assassin, which is where the film's comedy came into play. The actor offered a balance that combines his playful dialogue with his character's thirst for murder. The humor may seem out-of-place at times, but that's the beauty of it. It's not meant to be overly dark and gritty. It's supposed to be gritty and fun, and the film handled that style pretty well, even though the result is far from memorable. As for its flaws, the film's story did fall into familiar territory regarding the plot elements and character development. It didn't provide anything beyond its straightforward plot that pushes the characters outside of their two-dimensional personas. It's just four people trying to kill each other, plain and simple. If that's what you're searching for, then you'll have no issue watching this.
Overall, "Copshop" is a small-scale, old-school thriller that's best described as a wild night in prison. While it didn't go past its limit in terms of the violence and energy, it compensates with a talented cast, decent direction, and an explosive, action-packed finale. I still prefer "Boss Level" as my favorite film from Joe Carnahan because of its clever execution and highly entertaining action. Still, I was able to find some entertainment value in this one regardless of its few shortcomings. If you like simplistic action thrillers that don't cost over $100 million to make, then you might enjoy this one as well.