2021’s release schedule for films seems to be separated into two categories: movies that were delayed or pushed back from 2020 and movies that release under the radar and surprise greatly. Copshop is the latter. It has a star studded cast highlighted by: Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, and Ryan O’Nan. It’s in the cast where the movie really shines. It’s helped out by a great script full of snappy dialogue and tense, albeit muted until the conclusion, action. Kurt McLeod and Joe Carnahan took a story from Mark Williams and Carnahan also directs.

Here’s the official synopsis of Copshop.

Tearing through the Nevada desert in a bullet-ridden Crown Vic, wily con artist Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) hatches a desperate plan to hide out from lethal hitman Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler): He sucker-punches rookie officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) to get himself arrested and locked up in a small-town police station. Jail can’t protect Murretto for long, and Viddick schemes his own way into detention, biding his time in a nearby cell until he can complete his mission. When the arrival of a competing assassin (Toby Huss) ignites all-out mayhem, mounting threats force Viddick to get creative if he wants to finish the job and escape the explosive situation.

A Throwback To The 70’s With A Modern Touch

COPSHOP, (aka COP SHOP), Gerard Butler, 2021. © Briarcliff Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

This very much felt like a classic 70’s style cop movie like Assault on Precinct 13 or Dirty Harry. Its grimy, dirty, and didn’t pull any punches. It doesn’t have a similar pacing to action films of today. These days, the action is more like John Wick or Fast and the Furious. There’s a lot of it, and you don’t really have time for the characters to breath. However, in Copshop, we get plenty of time before the shooting starts to get to know our characters. The premise leads you to believe one thing, and then you’re juked out by the end of the film. Along the way, the characters that interject themselves are just as good as our three main characters.

As for the performances, we’ll talk about Grillo and Butler first. These two are the stars attached to the movie. Butler is entering what I would like to call the Charles Bronson portion of his career. He’s not quite the elder statesman that Bronson was, but he’s making some of his best work of late. He’s the perfect man for this role, where the script is seemingly flipped between him and Grillo. Grillo usually plays the big bad opposite our hero. This time, both guys are pretty scummy individuals that are just charming enough to make you not hate them.

It’s the dynamic between the two of them and Louder that really makes this movie special though. Louder’s turn as Valerie in this movie is star-making and completely awesome. She’s the real hero of the film, and the one that drives all the action. Her decisions make the movie what it is.

Some Of The Other Performances In The Film

The best of the ancillary characters in the film goes to Toby Huss though. His performance as Anthony “Tony” Lamb is where the film transitions from a thriller/pulpy film to an all-out actioner. He’s hilarious, he sings, he acts like a cartoon character and it all works. My favorite scene in the movie is when “Tony” is trying to get Valerie to open a vault door to get to Teddy. The interaction between the four characters makes the whole movie, including Huss singing, poorly.

It’s scenes like this one and others that set Copshop apart from the crowded action field. A lot of movies set out to recreate the balls-out action of John Wick. While that works for a lot of films, Copshop benefits from a slower pace, and more character building than your average action film.

It does have that all out action that you’re searching for, but the path to it, is more satisfying and star-making than you’d think.

Some Slightly Head-Scratching Choices Though

There are a few points in regards to Copshop that didn’t make as much sense though. We have an ending full of bullets and action, but there is a moment, without spoiling anything, that comes somewhat out of nowhere. A character returns and makes their entrance, but isn’t really given any other explanation. It doesn’t really affect the outcome of the movie and it doesn’t really change how you should feel about it, but it does come out of nowhere.

Other than that, the “frame” at the end of the film that’s supposed to set up how our two final characters are after one-another, also makes little in the way of sense, because it involves highjacking an ambulance as the patient. The rest of the complaints that one could have with this movie fall under the “suspension of disbelief” category and just normal movie logic from certain characters.

These critiques don’t take away from the fun and action of Copshop though. It’s a star-making performance from Alexis Louder that should get her more action roles as the lead. This movie might be billed under the star power of Gerard Butler and Frank Grillo, but she’s the true winner of the film.

If you’re in need of an action flick to watch this weekend or just to take your mind off things, Copshop might end up being one of the best of 2021. Copshop is in theaters right now.

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