Cop Shop (2021)
Directed by: Joe Carnahan | 109 minutes | action, thriller, crime | Actors: Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kaiwi Lyman, Robert Walker Branchaud, Tracey Bonner, Keith Jardine, Marshall Cook, Christopher Michael Holley, Marco Morales , Chris Kleckner
Under the motto ‘you are nowhere safer than in a police cell’, professional con man Teddy Murreto (Frank Grillo) has himself locked up there by punching a young cop in the face. In a remote police station somewhere in Nevada, he waits for the opportunity to take his next step. But then a drunk is brought in, and placed in the cell opposite him. This ‘John Doe’ turns out to be Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler), a hit man who has set his sights on taking the ransom money for Teddy. But neither man has taken into account the motivated Valerie Young (Alexis Louder), the cop who beat Teddy earlier, and the fact that half the police force in this sleepy village is either incompetent or corrupt.
‘Copshop’ is from director Joe Carnahan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kurt McLeod. You may know Carnahan from action films like ‘Narc’ (2002), ‘Smokin’ Aces’ (2006) and ‘The Gray (2011) and with ‘Copshop’ he stays in familiar waters. Corrupt cops, hitmen and con men, Carnahan knows how to craft entertaining action thrillers in this milieu and ‘Copshop’ is no exception.
The film has a pleasant seventies vibe, thanks in part to the title sequence and the music of ‘Magnum Force’ (1973). The conversation between the two agents with which the film starts has a Tarantino-esque flavor. Gerard Butler and Frank Grillo may be the most famous names – and they definitely do what they were hired to do – but the show is definitely stolen by Alexis Louder. She portrays a wonderfully stubborn, charismatic and worldly woman who definitely stands her ground in this testosterone-dominated world.
For a Joe Carnahan movie, the first half of the movie seems rather tame; but that is more than made up for in part two and the bullets, explosions and blood spatters fly around your ears. In terms of humor, the film should have gone up a notch, although there are funny dialogues in it (sorry, Tom Cruise!). With the arrival of another hit man at the police station, of the caliber of psychopath, you never know where you stand and – even though the film does nothing new – you remain interested until the end.