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Copshop (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

COPSHOP (2021)

Starring Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O'Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau, Robert Walker Branchaud, Tracey Bonner , Keith Jardine, Marshall Cook, Christopher Michael Holley, Marco Morales, Chris Kleckner, Karyn Greer, Vanita Kalra, David Vaughn, JR Adduci, Alex Rush, Greg Fitzpatrick and Joe Carnahan.

Screenplay by Kurt McLeod and Joe Carnahan.

Directed by Joe Carnahan.

Distributed by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 108 minutes. Rated R.

It seems like a long time ago when Gerard Butler was looked at as a budding star. Back then he was looked to for big-budget action films (300), serious period drama (Mrs. Brown), romantic comedy (The Ugly Truth), horror (Dracula 2000), kid’s films (Nim’s Island), serious romance (PS I Love You), Shakespeare adaptations (Coriolanus) and even musicals (he was probably miscast as the title character in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, but you have to give the guy credit for getting the part.)

However, a decade of bad choices and flop films has left him to this – a low-budget cheesy and overly violent grindhouse thriller called Copshop. Copshop is a pretty blatant rip off of John Carpenter’s 1976 cult classic Assault on Precinct 13 – which was itself a rip off of the classic Howard Hawks western Rio Bravo. (Oh, I’m sorry, inspired by…)

Hell, Butler doesn’t even get the lead role here – although he does get top billing. However, while he plays a big part – sort of an ambivalent bogeyman character – Alexis Louder and Frank Grillo both have more significant roles and more to do. And Grillo may have the most ridiculous man-bun in film history.

If the crazy gonzo violence of Copshop feels familiar, it is because it is the return of early-millennial hack Joe Carnahan, the “mastermind” behind such ultraviolent crap as Smokin’ Aces, The A-Team and The Grey. (In fairness, the last of these three was in a different style for him and actually not that bad.) I had thought that Carnahan’s career had finally sputtered out due to its own inertia (his last directing gig was 2014’s Stretch), but here he is again, and he hasn’t learned a thing – either as a director or as a storyteller.

In fact, the sheer gratuity of the gunfire and violence was strongly reminiscent of Smokin’ Aces – and I can’t tell you how much I hated Smokin’ Aces.

Copshop is better – slightly – but I can’t imagine ever wanting to see it again.

Like Precinct 13, Copshop is the story of a criminal named Teddy Murretto (Grillo) who is arrested and held in a small police precinct. (With Carnahan’s normal sledgehammer subtlety, the precinct is in an area called Gun City.) Outside the precinct, some bad criminals are looking to get at the guy and are willing to do anything they can to breach the jail. Therefore, a small troop of policemen must fight off the well-armed and bloodthirsty insurrectionists.

Butler plays Bob Viddick, a bigtime hitman who goes to extremes to get himself put in the same cell block as Murretto. However, his ruse is figured out by rookie cop Valerie Young (Louder), who handcuffs him in the cell and vows to protect Murretto, despite the fact he’s supposedly a very, very bad guy with a horrific hairdo.

Things get turned up a notch when another opposing hitman named Anthony Lamb (played by Toby Huss of Halt and Catch Fire,chewing scenery with gusto) shows up determined to collect on Murretto’s contract himself.

All of which leads to a gonzo violent showdown between the two hit men, the potential target and the very few cops who survive.

If you liked Smokin’ Aces – first of all, my condolences – but you will probably like Copshop. The rest of us should try to avoid it like a rain of bullets.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: December 14, 2021.

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