Copshop is a pulpy, action-thriller in the purest sense. The movie shows promise, especially in its early moments, but the thrills seem to fade away with every passing moment. In the end, Copshop does nothing to become truly memorable. Director Joe Carnahan (
The A-Team, Smokin' Aces) stages a twisted cop drama, having almost the entire movie take place in the Gun Creek police station. The setting helps build some intrigue, but the cast of characters are just obscure enough to keep the audience on the line of caring, and, well, not caring. The acting isn't great here either, but the cast does a good enough job of moving the film along. With a fast-paced 108-minute runtime, Copshop can pass as entertaining, if you can get around the simple plot line and occasional brutality. Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) is a small-town cop located in Gun Creek, Nevada. Policing in a small town can get boring, but things take an unexpected turn when Young is assaulted outside of a local casino. The assailant, Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo), seems to be hiding something, and his skittish demeanor reveals that he may also be hiding from someone. Sure enough, another mystery man soon gets processed into the prison, the legendary and terrifying Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler). As their stories unravel and Officer Young starts to connect the dots, it becomes clear that this quiet night in Gun Creek is about to take an unexpected turn. The first half of Copshop is engaging. The story is held back from the audience, and drip-fed bit by bit until the plot starts to take hold. The problem with the back half of the film is that once the story takes shape, it's just not that interesting. There is an entertaining sequence where Teddy starts to explain what he does "professionally," through a quick flashback montage, a technique that Carnahan should have embraced and continued to use. If Copshop were character-centric the film would have been great. Instead, the audience is treated to an off-the-wall action-thriller, which has merit, but does nothing to really pop. Teddy, Bob, and Valerie all have interesting stories to tell, but unfortunately, viewers are offered only an inch of character depth. Disappointing story aside, Carnahan does use his setting extremely well. As the camera weaves in and out of the police station's nooks and crannies, there is a sense of tension building throughout every scene. He expertly gives small nods to the audience in the beginning moments of the film, as if to say, "pay attention, this might be significant later." It allows the viewer to play detective a bit, that is, until the character's obvious motives are abruptly revealed halfway through. Chances are you know what you are getting into if you decide to watch Copshop, and you likely will not be disappointed. It's mostly entertaining, it's just a shame that the film doesn't step into its full potential.
All Movie Guide - Travis Norris