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  Copshop I Must Ask You To Accompany Me To The Station
Year: 2021
Director: Joe Carnahan
Stars: Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O'Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kaiwi Lyman, Robert Walker Branchaud, Tracy Bonner, Keith Jardine, Marshall Cook, Christopher Michael Holley, Marco Morales
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Seems like just another quiet day on patrol for Officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) until as she is chatting with her cop partner, a message comes over the radio to investigate an altercation at a wedding. What she doesn't know is that one of the men there, Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo), is looking to deliberately get arrested, so she gets punched in the face for her trouble and tases Teddy in return; he is dragged away to their police station, but elsewhere in New Mexico, more trouble is brewing. He is Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler), and he also wants to get arrested, so pretends to be a drunk driver...

Sometimes when you hear there has been behind the scenes tension on a movie, it affects your perception of the results, but sometimes, well, nobody is saying friction makes the movie better, but it can end up as a work you enjoy regardless. Such is the case with Copshop, which had very little promotion by anyone involved after it wrapped, but found an audience who heard its appropriation of Lalo Schifrin's Magnum Force opening theme and thought, ah, it's that sort of film, is it? Count me in. In truth, it wasn't quite as faithful to the nineteen-seventies as it might have been, yet nevertheless the character-based action tone was there.

It's nice to see an action thriller where the makers have taken care over the dialogue, which can often mean you get Quentin Tarantino-aping rambles as the screenwriter flexes his literary muscles, but every so often you are the recipient of an effort where not everyone is drawn from stock, though here you could sense the production straining against its touch of class in various scenes. One of the real innovations was that Butler and Grillo were not playing the main characters, for she was Officer Valerie who we were supposed to be supporting, a quick on the draw, quick witted and just downright quick cop who relied on her intelligence as well as her prowess.

Louder might not have been a household name, but she had appeared in some high-profile work, though perhaps not material you would immediately recognise her from. This would have been a starmaking turn had it been a hit, it did OK but quickly went to streaming, which is where most people saw it, seeing the Butler (or maybe Grillo) name and thinking they were in for one of his generic action flicks. However, it isn't really: Butler and Grillo spend most of the movie locked up in opposite cells in the station's jail, scheming over how to get the upper hand, but not if Valerie has anything to say about it. Meanwhile, outside their former associates are closing in, and are even more violent than they are.

Toby Huss had fun as a quippy hitman, a cartoon character at heart but nevertheless a formidable foe as written and if he was a little old for the role, he managed to claim it as his own, so you did not mind, and besides, he had the firepower to make life very difficult for the others. If you were wondering who was the "good" baddie and who was the "bad" baddie, then the film did not appear to be very sure either, a flaw when it came to deciding whose side we should be backing, though sticking with Valerie seemed to be the safest bet. Otherwise, the action played out in claustrophobic locations that were surprisingly effective, it was well-acted overall, and if it went on too long with too many resurrections for credibility, then it would have prompted a few chuckles and raised the blood pressure when the bullets started to fly. You can imagine this one gaining a cult following, no matter the original intentions. (Other) music by Clinton Shorter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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