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Copshop Review – IGN

Copshop arrives in theaters on Friday, Sept. 17.

Copshop is wise-cracking, violent homage to pulpy ’70s action flicks that nicely uses a single location to house all of its crazy carnage, but then delivers a story that feels listless, arbitrary, and devoid of full payoff.

Containing cool shootouts, quirky characters, and some moments of unique irreverence, Copshop occasionally crackles with humor and inspiration. However, far too often, it squanders set ups and side-steps golden opportunities, possibly for the sake of defying convention. As a result, the film’s disjointed, constantly reinventing itself (and its plot) and giving the impression that the story’s truly being made up as it goes along.

Directed and co-written by Smokin’ Aces’ Joe Carnahan, who has plenty of experience with combustible cauldrons and colliding agents of chaos, Copshop seems to figure itself out best during its middle section, when all participants are more or less present and accounted for. Despite that, though, the film has a stifling Three-card Monte problem of constantly shuffling priorities.

Set in dusty, sleepy Gun Creek, Nev., Copshop brings us into the local police precinct — which is anything but dusty and sleepy and feels like it’s out of RoboCop or some other saga with a dystopian metropolis — for the story of a frantic con man on the run, Teddy (Frank Grillo), and a hitman, Viddick (Gerard Butler), who gets himself arrested in order to saddle up next to his target. Caught in the middle of this, having inadvertently trapped two devils in her midst, is rookie officer Valerie Young (The Tomorrow War’s Alexis Louder). And while Louder is a fun and fresh presence here, as really the only character to root for, the film is too unfocused to capitalize on her… or any of its characters, really. The result of this befuddled blueprint is too much time spent with characters who don’t matter and not enough time spent with ones whose motivations need more exploration.

Butler’s Bob Viddick isn’t a hero, obviously, but the film tries to give him an out from being a true villain because he’s a somewhat sane and reasonable hitman, making him one of the lesser evils in the film. But even that default champion status doesn’t save the story enough, or make it feel any less discombobulated. There’s a way to swirl action and characters together in a mannered enough way to present us with “randomness” containing casual violence, winking one-liners, and eccentric tangents, but Copshop is only able to find that sweet spot in spare moments.

Toby Huss’ heightened performance as a wild card killer thrown into the mix is a good example of manic, maniac energy. Huss is wonderful and instantly livens up the scene, which at that point, honestly, has completely run out of steam. Yes, there are times Copshop coolly embraces its campy B-movie outlandishness and it’s a delight to watch Louder’s cop ascend into pure badass action hero status by the end. Ultimately, though, Copshop doesn’t see its fun all the way though. The film is filled with half-measures, with far more satisfying results and payouts hiding just around the corner.

The film is filled with good cops (Chad L. Coleman), dirty ones (Ryan O’Nan), and hired madmen, but the most disappointing character is the story’s keystone, Teddy. As a fugitive “fixer,” and professional liar, Teddy comes with an assortment of twists and turns, but none seem to fit him just right. And because of that, none of them land with the impact the plot demands. If you take an over-arching look at the film as just one slaughter-filled night at a police station, there’s some clarity. But once you dig into some of the assorted, individual moments, it’s a big mess.

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