Combustible Celluloid
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With: Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Ryan O'Nan, Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau
Written by: Kurt McLeod, Joe Carnahan, based on a story by Kurt McLeod, Mark Williams
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
MPAA Rating: R for strong/bloody violence, and pervasive language
Running Time: 109
Date: 09/17/2021

Copshop (2021)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Rogue Station

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Filled with fun, pulpy characters, Joe Carnahan's bloody crime tale Copshop relies on increasingly ludicrous story developments, but its crazy momentum carries it through and makes it all easy to forgive.

A well-dressed man, Teddy (Frank Grillo), with long, stringy hair, drives a shot-up police vehicle until it overheats. In front of a casino, he punches police officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) and demands to be arrested. Soon after, a drunk driver is brought in and locked up in the cell across from Teddy's. It turns out that he's Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler), sent to kill Teddy.

As Valerie pieces together what's happening, more chaos unfolds at the police station. A sly, talkative hitman named Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss) shows up and begins killing cops, and a crooked cop (Ryan O'Nan), who has been stealing drugs from the evidence room, is desperate to cover his tracks. Things take an even darker turn when Valerie is shot, and she must decide who to trust: Teddy or Bob.

Teaming up once again with star Grillo immediately following their terrific Boss Level, Carnahan adopts a Tarantino-y approach to Copshop, using one location in a tight, effective way, and painting the characters in bold, broad strokes, quickly defining them before the shooting starts. (The movie is set in Nevada, so the characters are an interesting mix of types: big city and small-town, high and low, decent and shady.)

Grillo (who also worked with Carnahan on The Grey) seems to be having the most fun, disappearing into his character's wardrobe, impressive man-bun hairstyle, and even a snake-oil-salesman's voice. But Huss steals the show as the hitman with a Southern gentleman accent, and a psychopath's crackle.

Louder is the real hero, and she doesn't let that go to waste. She displays courage and quick wit without ever becoming dull. She's a cool gunslinger we'd like to see again. In the end, Copshop is not much more than an extended (and much bloodier) Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoon, but with enough sheer energy to careen through its 109 minutes without wearing out its welcome.

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