Copshop (2021) dropped in my local theater quite unceremoniously this past weekend. Considering I’ve been going to this theater pretty much every week since May, it is kind of insane to think I’d not once seen a poster or trailer for it. On its surface – and with its pretty bland and boring title – one may think Copshop won’t be worth the cost of a ticket. However, if you’re a fan of Joe Carnahan and his work, or Gerald Butler and Frank Grillo, then this film is definitely worth the cost of a ticket.
Teddy Murretto (Grillo) is on the run from someone, but exactly who is unclear. The one thing that he seems certain of is he’d rather take his chances with the police, so he sucker punches Rookie Officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder). While he seems to think this idea a worthy one, Bob Viddick (Butler) won’t let some pesky thing like prison bars keep him from his target. The three soon find themselves at odds – and also necessary allies.
I was really hoping for an off-the-wall action movie. While there are a few scenes of action that are mostly well done, it was the ability to craft a well-written story (hats off to Carnahan and his collaborators Mark Williams and Kurt McLeod) that really sold me on the final product. There is a lot of story here that is compelling enough if you like a solid crime drama with an edge of humor. Everything that is introduced in the film pays off, and helps the finale really land.
Of course, none of that would work if not for the cast. Butler and Grillo are often found doing straight-to-VOD type movies as of late, making it easy to write them off. However, these guys have found their lane, and when given room to work, they do their jobs well. I enjoyed both performances in this film, and they were almost overshadowed by Louder. She gets the privilege of being the protagonist working up against these two veterans of the genre, and she doesn’t hold anything back. Young is referred to as “rookie” a few times and has a clear respect for her role as a law enforcement officer. Louder brings a wealth of personality to the character, making her easy to root for as she tries to navigate a crazy night that just keeps getting crazier.
Copshop manages to bring a compelling story, some interesting characters, and a pretty memorable extra villain (played by Toby Huss). There is a ton of excess violence and some gunplay used as humor that may not sit well with all audiences. I feel those complaints would be valid – but I guess, despite hating real-life violence – I’ve long since been desensitized to cinematic violence, and usually am not phased by it on screen. Copshop earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.