Director: Joe Carnahan
Writers: Kurt McLeod and Joe Carnahan
Starring: Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss and Ryan O’Nan
Copshop has a great set up. There’s a criminal in a jail cell, an assassin that’s chasing him in another, a rookie cop and a psycho who is running wild through the police station. The film is full of great comedy and there is a lot of fun to be had in this often great, yet ultimately flawed comedy/thriller.
This is a film all about characters and it has a lot of great ones. Teddy (Frank Grillo) is a slimy character; from the way he dresses to the way he acts. Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler) is a cold and calculating assassin. He claims he’s not a psycho, but there are moments later that say others wise. Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss) is a genuine psycho and doesn’t shy away from showing it. Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) is an overachieving rookie who doesn’t let anything stand in the way of her ambitions. The performances are all excellent and make even the most over the top moments feel believable enough to stay invested.
There is a lot of laughs to be found in Copshop. The characters are strange, the premise is great and when Anthony gets involved there is a lot of laugh out loud moments. His character walks a fine line between being funny and annoying, but always seems to stay on the right side of the line.
The violence in this is film is terrific. The deaths are quick and extreme. The bullet wounds are visible, and the deaths happen quickly. There are no drawn-out moments, just quick deaths with a lot of blood splattering. It’s also light-hearted violence. Anthony says to a cop he shoots in the head, I wonder what’s going through your head right now, as the cop falls to the floor. It’s not a film that takes itself seriously and that’s one of the best things about it.
The film does drag on way too long. The set-up, with almost everything being set in the police station, means that it runs out of steam towards the end. There are loads of moments where you feel it’s going to end, but then it doesn’t. Without spoiling anything, there’s some loose twists that keep the plot moving, but it really should have ended a lot sooner. The punchy energetic first half is weighed down by a baggy second half.
Copshop is still worth watching if you like oddball comedies. It feels very similar to Bad Times at the El Royale, in that it has a single setting, a group of strong odd characters, a quirky sense of humour to everything and a run time that should have been about twenty minutes shorter. The action is great, the characters are interesting and it’s a lot of fun. It’s just a shame that it outstays its welcome.