An action thriller from Joe Carnahan (Smoking Aces) has a trashy B-movie vibe about it.
His Copshop stars Gerald Butler (Greenland) and the arguably busier Frank Grillo (The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard) in a largely testosterone-fueled affair.
A small, if somewhat incompetently staffed county prison in Gun Creek, Nevada (where the title emerges slangy fashion) will have some wacky folks end up there as an indulgent, if occasionally inventive ultra-violet fest will occur.
A voluble grifter of sorts is Grillo’s Teddy, brought in for accosting rookie officer Valerie (Alexis Louder of Black Panther). Teddy, however, was looking for the comfort of lockup, knowing what trouble he’s facing on the outside.
Butler’s hard-bitten Bob Viddick, a darker character for the Scottish Butler, has his own methods for landing in the cell net to the con-artist he’s got a hit on. The proceedings have a measured quality in a way that has the explosiveness simmering for a while. It includes how Teddy is connected to government agents, as double-crossing amidst a melee as thuggish presence will mark its territory on the correctional facility.
A gruffly winking Butler and Grillo appear to relish the chance to play off one another in what really is more silly than spry. It’s not really an acting showcase where split-screens, musical cues jump cuts look to juice up a fairly tightly knit area. AS little more background into Teddy might have helped drum up more interest in a narrative with recollections and later payoffs.
Being in a cell block with a bulletproof wall allows Louder, already impatient from being socked, to more than hold her own against the other two tough-guy thespians. Valerie is likely the one most empathized with during a very sanguine ordeal as she’s pretty resourceful when it comes to a dislocated jaw or a wound caused by her own weapon.
Character actor Toby Huss does stand out in the peculiar cat-and-mouse-like mayhem as a maniacal serial killer named Anthony Lamb who’s in cahoots with a dirty cop out to get his cut.
Copshop needed in a little more cinematic work in the cinematic (chop-shop) cutting room to make a certain creativity within the absurdities (like shell casings on a floor) resonate with more propulsive cohesion. Yet, Carnahan isn’t out for gritty melodrama in his Aces up his sleeve by way of Assault on Precinct 13 and its remake. For its derivative, visceral corn he can still muster up noticeable taut efficiency as the ticking clock is best rendered when a password on a keypad is being reset.