Copshop is a silly name for a movie so I can get why someone may right this one-off. The poster doesn’t help either with dual scowls from Frank Grillo, and Gerard Butler. It’s the kind of cover art you would find in the discount movie bin at a rest stop. All of this hides the shining star of the film, Alexis Louder, who makes this Tarantino and Carpenter-inspired thriller worth your time.
Louder plays Valerie, a young female black cop in a small town of Nevada. For such a small town it has rather impressive holding cells complete with high-tech defenses. Never mind the logic, Valerie is all badass. When Teddy Murretto (Grillo) punches her in order to get himself arrested, she’s quick to bounce back with quips and a sense that Murretto has a reason for getting locked up. He does. People are trying to kill him which is why a hitman named Viddick (Butler) ends up pulling the same stunt and get himself thrown in the clink with Murretto.
Bulter has played a role like this more than once. One senses he wants to be a bit more colorful and charismatic than the script allows him. When that shines through, his performance gains strength. Grillo is not one of my favorite actors and he is just okay here. He never pulls off the duality that is required for the character.
The film stalls for a bit as Grillo and Butler mean mug each other on who is going to kill who. Thank goodness for Valerie, who catches on quickly and begins to anticipate that something is going to kick off. Viddick is the only hitman after Murretto. Enter in a campy performance from Toby Huss as a psychotic hitman. Copshop comes alive whenever Louder is on screen. She is so entertaining here trying to survive the worst night she has soon. You root for her and it is enough to get you through the rougher parts of the film.
Director Joe Carnahan stages some decent shootouts. His bloodlust does occasionally get to be a bit much as the film is rather callous to characters who are murdered. The script packs in some twists and turns, most of them easy to spot. The film’s ending is ridiculous as well. I know this doesn’t exactly sound like a recommendation but if siege movies are your thing, the film does just enough to satisfy. It is Louder who shines, making her mark against the growls of two weathered male actors.