By: Savanna Snead
“You look like a step-dad”: Bad banter and poor action scenes plague action-thriller Copshop
Do you love classic cop movies and gritty crime thrillers? Do you love stylized action scenes, explosions and witty banter between dangerous men? Now imagine a film that combines all these elements yet somehow manages to suck the joy and life out of every scene. That’s Copshop.
Written and directed by Joe Carnahan, Copshop is an ensemble film set in a police station. Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) is a rookie police officer who imagines herself to be a modern-day cowboy. When Young goes out on a call to a casino wedding that’s devolved into fist fighting, she meets con artist Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo). Murretto punches Young, leading him to get thrown into jail for the night. Unbeknownst to Young, Murretto wants to be thrown into jail in order to elude the two hitmen on his tail. Chaos ensues as one of the hitmen, Viddick (Gerard Butler), masquerades as a drunkard in order to get himself into jail so he can kill Murretto.
There’s a lot going on in Copshop and the film seems to be confused as to what story it wants to tell. On the one hand, there’s the story about Murretto fighting for his life, hoping that his ex-wife and kid won’t fall prey to the same dangerous men who are after him. There’s another story happening with dirty cop Huber, who knows more about Viddick and Murretto than he lets on. Caught in the middle of these two narratives is Young, whose personality seems to be an amalgamation of every rookie cop stereotype. The film never knows which narrative to focus on or which character to develop. The result is a mess of one-dimensional characters with arcs that never fully pan out.
Copshop wants to feel slick and cool like a Tarantino or Guy Richie film but the script falls short. The film attempts to create biting banter between the characters; the best they can come up with is that Gerard Butler’s character “looks like a step-dad”. Daddy issues aside, there’s no good characters to root for. Young, who excessively tazes Murretto after he punches her in the first act, seems to have only joined the police force in order to live out her dreams of being a violent cowboy. The film flip-flops over whether Murretto is a family man caught up in a bad life or a bad man who cannot be redeemed. Don’t get me started on Viddick, whose only backstory is that he once beat a man to death with his own leg.
Even the action scenes feel stale. Copious amounts of slow-motion bog down the action until what should be a quick, tense fight becomes a bloated and boring mess. I found myself checking my phone during the film’s climax, wondering how much longer I would have to torture myself by watching this.
If you want a fun action movie to watch, do yourself a favor and watch something else. This reviewer would have much rather found herself in bed with a bag of microwave popcorn rewatching Blade for the fiftieth time.
My Rating: 2/5
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%