September 17th, 2021
STARRING: GERARD BUTLER, FRANK GRILLO, ALEXIS LOUDER, TOBY HUSS, RYAN O’NAN
DIRECTED BY: JOE CARNAHAN
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (O ut of 4)
Last week I was in Las Vegas for my cousin Paul’s bachelor party and we ended one of the nights debating about what Gerard Butler’s best movie was. I don’t think we came to a final answer, but a part of me thinks the only right response will now be Copshop. Coincidentally, this is an awesome ensemble piece, where Butler is able to be his Scottish slinging self, and bounce his hard nose demeanor off a trio of co-stars that bring it all together. It involves a few bad dudes and a bad ass police officer in a fire fight at a small police station. I hate to say they don’t make them like Copshop anymore, but it’s true, and leave it to director Joe Carnahan to turn up the action, and give us the thrills that you might be looking for. Copshop backs you into the corner, throws some larger than life characters into the pot, and makes a thrilling concoction.
On the outskirts of a small Nevada town, a man named Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) storms through in a beat up crown vic, with bullet holes in the door, and steam pouring from the hood. He’s on the run, and to get protection, he decides to punch officer Young (Alexis Louder) in the face. He ends up in a cell but the night is just beginning. Then another man, named Bob Viddick (Butler), crashes his car into a state trooper, getting himself thrown into a cell at this small police station. As you might have guessed it, getting locked up is all part of the plan, where a bounty is out on the head of Murretto and hired gun Viddick wants to collect, but what they didn’t prepare for is a skilled officer like Young, another crooked cop on the inside, and a psychopathic hitman joining the party. It amounts to ramped up action involving a collection of fully developed characters born to be in a movie called Copshop.
One might think Copshop would be a standard reach at regaining the glory days of 80’s action films, but director Joe Carnahan is more skilled than that, delivering a product that has his stamp of masculine style. The screenplay, co-written by Carnahan and Kurt McLeod, with the story written by Mark Williams, is a rich text on a level of action films from Tarentino, John Carpenter, or a Tony Scott. If there’s a collection of movies to compare Copshop with it is The Hateful Eight, Halloween 2 or Assault on Precinct 13. It’s a pot-boiler, with various characters in a tight space- created miraculously by fantastic set design, the police station is truly brought to life- and then seeing who will be left standing.
Each actor is working with their characters on various levels. The surprise is Louder, an actor I’ve never seen before, but her demeanor, her swagger is infectious, creating a real hero to root for. With steel bars separating them, Butler and Grillo bounce dialogue off one another with ease. Grillo sports long hair in a man bun and delivers some of his best work of late. He’s given a deeper, more mysterious character to work with, which was not the case in The Gateway. As for Butler, he doesn’t need to carry so much weight and can be his rugged self. He sports a leather jacket well, hasn’t looked cooler or had this much charisma since RocknRolla. And then enters the wild card, Toby Huss, sporting a Ned FLanders mustache, and producing a character that is downright terrifying. A cold killer in every sense of the word and Huss plays the role to a T. From moment to moment, scene to scene, there’s a new character to chew on and boy does it put you in a space ready to explode.
So yes, we don’t see enough movies like Copshop, giving roles to excellent character actors and letting them play in the sandbox. It’s not that Copshop doesn’t run into some roadblocks, where the drama seems to have characters sit around a little too long- Butler is handcuffed to a jail cell for quite a long time. There also may be detractors that wonder why we should care about these people. Even if that answer is no we don’t care, the dialogue is so rich, the performances so alive, and the direction spot on, it makes Copshop the best movie that I didn’t see coming. One thing’s for sure, Copshop is top notch.
COPSHOP ARRIVES IN THEATERS THIS FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2021
Written by: Leo Brady