Director Joe Carnahan’s latest high-energy actor easily meets the genre’s demands for blood, guts, bullets, and octane, to refer to the title of the director’s debut film. Copshop features an ultraviolent cat-and-mouse game between a ruthless hitman and his potential target, with a determined rookie cop caught in the middle. The 70s-style synth-heavy musical score, of which Lalo Schifrin would be proud, adds to the pleasing aesthetic of the grindhouse.
That much of the cat-and-mouse game takes place in a sprawling Nevada police station is one of the cleverly fun vanities of Carnahan and Kurt McLeod’s storyline. Featuring the most violent chaos in such a setting since Attack on the enclosure 13 and The Terminator, the movie is set in the Gun Creek Police Department. There, quick-thinking con artist Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo, apparently competing with Eric Roberts for the record for most screen appearances in a single year) managed to get himself arrested hitting a woman. cop, Valerie (Alexis Louder). Teddy had hoped to avoid the clutches of veteran hitman Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler), but his plan is thwarted when the equally intelligent killer is dragged out for drunk driving and placed in a cell next to his quarry.
The bottom line
Butler and Grillo are fine, but Alexis Louder kicks ass.
Meanwhile, it is clear from the suspicious behavior of one of the cops (Ryan O’Nan) that something serious is about to happen, possibly related to the recent murder of a Nevada attorney general.
The only thing stopping Bob from killing Teddy, other than the cell he’s locked in, is the super-competent Valerie, who quickly proves she’s as badass as any of the criminals she meets. . But even she is unable to stop all hell from breaking loose when Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss) arrives, a maniacal killer armed with automatic weapons who walks into the police station and kills virtually anyone he is with. to be in contact. .
Butler and Grillo, the latter playfully sporting a goatee and bun, are both good in their testosterone-fueled roles, displaying real chemistry even as their characters attempt to kill each other. But the photo is stolen by Louder. She brings tongue-in-cheek humor to her endlessly resourceful cop, who has the composure to reconfigure a door access code under heavy automatic fire, reset another cop’s dislocated jaw, perform emergency tracheostomy and apply first aid to their own potentially fatal injuries.
Equally formidable is Huss, a veteran actor who clearly knows he’s been given a leading role and fully intends to make the most of it. At one point, Viddick points out that there is a difference between a professional killer and a psychopath, adding that Lamb clearly falls into the latter category. Punctuating every cold-blooded murder with an eccentric observation or a joke, the Folk Lamb seems to be having fun like crazy, and his pleasure is perversely contagious.
Spotting Teddy’s man bun, Lamb cracks up, “You look like Tom Cruise in that samurai photo that no one is looking at.” This is the kind of pop culture replica that now seems de rigueur for this kind of offbeat detective films, as is the Tarantino debate between Teddy and Bob on the definition of “déjà vu”. Sometimes the dialogue gets too smart for its own good. But Carnahan never cleverly lets him eclipse the rampant violence, which should thrill rabid action movie fans. Copshop is ridiculous on almost every level, but damn it, that’s not a lot of fun.
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