The Austin Chronicle


Rated R, 108 min. Directed by Joe Carnahan. Starring Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Ryan O'Nan, Kaiwi Lyman, Robert Walker Branchaud.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., Sept. 17, 2021

Do you have one of those friends who loves pointing out film flubs? Who counts how many bullets are left in the gun or remarks on how unbelievable a wig looks? Who can’t help but dwell on continuity errors in those postmortem theatre parking lot conversations? Who regularly utters the phrase, “That would never happen in real life”? Well, steer clear of inviting them to join you for a screening of Copshop. In fact, perhaps it’s time to rethink the nature of that friendship in general. I mean, what does this person bring to the table besides an overwhelming compulsion to act like a pedantic asshole? Because, chances are they also enjoy penning Yelp reviews. You definitely don’t need that energy in your life.

What you do need in your life, besides this graceful segue, is Copshop, an entertaining riff on Assault on Precinct 13. Nestled in a remote Nevada valley, the officers of the Gun Creek City police station are enjoying a tranquil evening of comparing firearms when a violent convergence descends, as mob flunkie Teddy Murretto (Grillo) gets booked for assaulting an officer. That officer, Valerie Young (Louder), appears to be the only competent deputy in the entire precinct, a precinct full of dim bulbs and crooked cops. But see, Teddy got himself collared because he’s turning snitch and needs a safe place to hole up. Bring on the hit men, as first Bob Viddick (Butler) gets thrown in the drunk tank, and later the psychotic Anthony Lamb (Huss) comes a-callin’. Mayhem ensues as the precinct is repainted in highlight splashes of blood and laconic one-liners are tossed off like grenades.

Carnahan and co-conspirators Kurt McLeod and Mark Williams are clearly having a blast orchestrating this symphony of Grand Guignol. Near misses, shifting alliances, and conveniently placed gasoline cans are par for the course here, with Curtis Mayfield and the Magnum Force theme song by Lalo Schifrin the cherries on top. What is up with Frank Grillo’s hair? Why does Gerald Butler look like Jeff Bridges? Why does no one check to see if the person they shot is really dead? Who cares? Copshop has more important things on its mind (which thankfully don’t include those follow-the-bullet camera shots. Ugh, so annoying). This is a splendidly constructed funhouse of blood and bullets, and there’s no need to bring your friend to count them all. He’s probably too busy on the internet anyway, poking holes in someone’s timeline of a Christopher Nolan movie. What an insufferable twat.

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