“On the run from a lethal assassin, a wily con artist devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station-but when the hitman turns up at the precinct, an unsuspecting rookie cop finds herself caught in the crosshairs.”

Director: Joe Carnahan
Writers: Kurt McLeod, Joe Carnahan, Mark Williams
Staring: Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss
Release Date: September 17, 2021

The plot to Copshop is pretty straight forward. Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) is a slimy not-to-be trust con man. He is on the run from numerous people, including sarcastic hitman Bob Viddick (Gerald Butler). Murretto plans to hide out in a prison cell, but Viddick is resourceful in getting face-to-face with his target. The poor soul who is trapped in the middle of all this? Rookie officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder). The trio collab and clash in truly violent ways, fitting for a straight shoot ‘em up flick.

Give credit where credit is due. Copshop knows exactly what it is, and it does not shy away from it. The action is fast and consistent, and the dialogue is simple and crisp. The actors are playing their characters to the nth degree and the bit characters are perfectly cliché.

While the two untrustworthy foes Muretto and Viddick get the majority of the screen time, the breakout performance in Copshop belongs to Alexis Louder, who plays the bad-ass, big-gun taunting, Valerie Young. Louder has the swagger needed to pull off this commando-esq type of persona. Louder is new but she is confident, and she is quick to smell bullshit. Louder also is physical as all hell. If you are looking for a Valerie Young stunt-double, it’ll be very difficult to find one.

Gerard Butler is gruff as Bob Viddick, and that is perfectly fine. Butler was at one point action star gold, but since the turn of the decade it has been a bit of a struggle for him. It is nice to see Butler get back to his roots here; the gravely voiced slow talking but quick-witted charismatic asshole. Butler as Viddick is his best work since Den Of Thieves (2018).

The actor that had the best time performing his part? That is easily Toby Huss, who has the pleasure of playing the wonky and psychopathic Anthony Lamb. Coming in about halfway through the movie, Lamb is a burst of bombastic air. Huss gets to act like his favorite serial killer and smile the entire way through it.

Frank Grillo is not one of the ear-mark worthy acting in Copshop, but he does have the best hair by far.

With all these main characters raising the entertainment bar, there is room for some bit characters to stand up. The doofy cop is righteously sweaty, and the straight-as-an-arrow cop is too perfectly sculpted. The head man (who is played by Chad L. Coleman, known for Cutty in The Wire) is loud, rude and tied just tight enough.

None of the characters in Copshop are safe. Anyone is liable to get their head blown off at any moment. Sure, the main characters aren’t going to die right away, but credit to writers Kurt McLeod, Joe Carnahan and Mark Williams for making their vulnerability just enough so that we always have to keep it in the back of our minds.

A viewer knows if they will like Copshop just from the opening font and style. If you see it and are questioning what you are watching, then maybe it isn’t for you. But if you see the distinct vibe, then you are in for a sweet ride. If I was in high school, I would be taunting Copshop as a must-see action indie type of movie. Now as an almost thirty-year old, I will still recommend Copshop to anyone who enjoys action and curse words. It bypasses the typical smut with better-than-expected performances and a dose of properly rationed snappy set pieces.

There is no mistake that Copshop could set up for a sequel at the end. There can be direct follow-up that immediately picks up where its original led-off, or a solo story with one of set characters is back stuck in a sticky situation.

Personally, I would sign up for that.

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)


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