Starring Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Ryan O'Nan, and Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau
Written by Kurt McLeod and Joe Carnahan
Directed by Joe Carnahan
Rated: 14A for coarse language, brutal violence, and substance use
Runtime: 107 minutes
Now playing at Landmark Cinemas 8 St. Albert, Cineplex North Edmonton, and Scotiabank Theatre
Who’s the good guy in Copshop? Is it the charismatic Gerard Butler, who plays Bob Viddick, a professional and brutal hitman for hire? No. Is it Frank Grillo, whose con artist character Teddy Murretto gets himself arrested by assaulting a cop just so he can stay safe for a night from the forces of organized crime that want him dead? No, not this one either.
It’s actually the underdog Valerie Young (Alexis Louder), the one rookie police officer on duty at the Gun Creek Police Department. She’s the one that Murretto sucker punches at the start of the show to get himself in cuffs but it isn't sympathy for her pain that builds her up. It's because taking the hit doesn’t make her lose her cool or her sense of duty, though she faces more than fists and foul words the night that the two grizzled foes end up in her holding cells. She's in for a bloody, bullet-riddled battle royale, especially when lunatic mobster Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss) shows up to mix things up even more.
The new film (co-written by St. Albert-raised Kurt McLeod and director Joe Carnahan) is a gritty, grimy, and often greasy fight to freedom through the convoluted maze of a police station and all of the other charming personalities in the way. What starts off as a fairly chatty/exposition-filled and simmeringly suspenseful interior drama turns into a sizzling — charring at times — action thriller by the midpoint. Granted, the boilerplate plot breaks little new ground with tropes abound, but it’s how the characters are written and the performances of Butler, Grillo, and especially Louder that make Copshop worth the watch. I felt like they should have been fleshed out more or given more to do, but when your leads are stuck in jail cells for a stretch then you can't expect more than catty chats until something else happens.
And it does. If you came for the action, and you probably did, then you certainly won't be disappointed there either.I very much liked both the greasy Frank Grillo picking up where Mickey Rourke left off 20 years ago and the dialogue-chewing Gerard Butler doing his best to come across like a bearded Mel Gibson from the same period. The scenery was really stolen in a few scenes by Toby Huss’s Anthony Lamb, much to the audience’s delight. Louder, however, is the heart of the show and this critic wishes that she had more to do.