On the run from a lethal assassin, a wily con artist devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station-but when the hitman turns up at the precinct, an unsuspecting rookie cop finds herself caught in the crosshairs.

Joe Carnahan’s second release of 2021 (after the Amazon Prime effort ‘Boss Level’) is ‘Copshop’, a pulpy throwback to the type of action movies that were being made 20+ years ago. Like ‘Boss Level’ it also stars Frank Grillo, who in this movie plays a conman who gets himself arrested on purpose to avoid being taken out by a professional hitman, Bob (Gerard Butler). Little does he know that Bob also has designs on engineering an arrest, and it’s left to new cop Valerie (Alexis Louder) to try to manage this fraught situation, heightened by other events taking place in the precinct where the men are kept under guard.

I had a lot of fun with this movie and the central trio are all very enjoyable in their roles, Butler in particular having a mini-renaissance of late where I’ve found myself really enjoying his recent performances (‘Greenland’, ‘Den of Thieves’). The film thrives on the interaction between these three characters, with the combination of action, sharp dialogue and dark humour reminding me of Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ from 2016. I liked that it takes elements from other heist/escape style movies with plenty of double crossing, shady characters and some neat action sequences, even as I felt some of the dialogue is working a bit too hard to be funny. This is most apparent when the character played by Toby Huss appears, who feels just a little too outlandish even for this stylistically heightened setting. It’s understandable that everyone wants to ape Tarantino’s knack for brilliant dialogue, but it more often than not doesn’t work, and I felt everything with Huss was a little too forced.

Copshop’ is an entertaining thriller with some fun performances (also liked Grillo looking like an evil version of Antonio Banderas in ‘Desperado’ when he takes his hair down!) and good action sequences, and for what it may lack in originality, it makes up for with energy and enthusiasm.

Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Joe Carnahan

Starring: Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Toby Huss, Alexis Louder, Ryan O’Nan and Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau

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