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Copshop is a great throwback actioner

Director Joe Carnahan returns to the world of balls to the walls action in Open Road Films Copshop. Teddy Muretto (Frank Grillo) is a wily con artist whom many folks want dead. On the run from what is sure to be lethal assassins, Teddy devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station. He sets out to accomplish his goal by going on the run in a stolen unmarked police car, which breaks down not far from a Nevada casino. Amid a brawl outside the casino, Muretto sucker-punches rookie police Officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) so that she will jail him and protect him from his pursuer.

However, when the hitman Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler) turns up at the precinct, also jailed, Teddy realizes how flawed his plan was. To make matters worse, Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss), a psychotic killer who also has a contract for Murretto's death, has also made his way into the station. Can rookie cop Val save Teddy and her own hide from the assassins?

Copshop’s story is the brainchild of Ozark creator Mark Williams with a screenplay by the film's director and Kurt McLeod. The premise has a quick setup and introduces us to the snake-like behavior of Teddy. I found this movie to be good as it establishes why the character of Teddy must meet his maker. Known for his tough-guy roles, Frank Grillo brings his usual bravado to the screen and is fun to watch as always. Unlike his previous films, we have to wait a while for Grillo to unleash the action, but the wait is well worth it.

Gerard Butler's introduction is a bit of a comedic one, and like Grillo, he waits to unleash the mayhem. Watching Grillo and Butler engage in a battle of wits while behind jail cells was fun to watch, and I can admit it's a significant build-up to their eventual showdown. Butler is having a great time portraying Bob Viddick, and it shows.

One of the most surprising parts of the film though for me, was character actor Toby Huss's portrayal of Tony Lamb, a flat-out sociopath. The way that Huss goes from making a comparison/contrast joke about Grillo’s character and Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai to unleashing gun mayhem was very cool. If it weren't for one particular performance, then I would say that Huss steals the movie.

However, without a doubt, the most robust performance in the film is that of Alexis Louder as Officer Valerie Young. I loved the introduction to Valerie and her appreciation for her firearms without turning her into a zealot. Early in the film, Young has some great moments with Chad Coleman, who portrays her chief. Furthermore, after the punch that Val takes from the hands of Teddy, she's up quickly and ready to jump back into the action. Louder can also deliver one-liners, fire a weapon, and look flawless all the while doing so. Hopefully, this opens more doors for her, and if the MCU is paying attention, cast this woman as Silhouette.

Featuring a nice mix of action, sharp dialogue, and great performances from its cast, Copshop is a highly recommended seventies-style actioner.

Final Grade: B+


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