There are sterile COVID movies — actors separated by computer screens, interacting on Zoom calls — and then there's "Copshop," director Joe Carnahan's filmed-during-the-pandemic B-movie shoot-em-up, in which he uses a small cast of actors and a one-location shoot to create as much mayhem as humanly possible.
This gritty romp is full of hard-boiled dialogue, wild gunplay and actors hamming it up. It's an exercise in style and slickness, a director greasing his wheels to keep from going rusty. It's built for a good time, not a long time, and it achieves its goals.
Frank Grillo plays con artist Teddy Murretto, a man who "manufactures opportunities" whom a lot of people want dead. After punching out a cop in a parking lot, he lands himself behind bars in a Gun Creek, Nevada holding cell, which is safer than the streets where there's a price on his head.
Among those looking to cash in are Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler), a hitman who impersonates a drunk and lands himself in the cell across from Teddy. Not good for ol' Ted. Meanwhile, outside the cell, some cops are acting shifty, and it's up to honest police officer Valerie (Alexis Louder) to hold down the fort amid a hellfire of bullets and double-crosses.
Carnahan ("Narc," this year's "Boss Level," also with Grillo) winds everything up and gleefully lets it rip, ratcheting up the violence within the confined space of the police station. Toby Huss is an absolute riot as Anthony Lamb, a gentleman killer with a Southern drawl, but it's Louder who steals the show, a hero worth rooting for in a sea of murky bad guys. "Copshop" could have easily become an unhinged game of one-upmanship, but she holds it down and keeps it from going off the rails.
MPAA rating: R (for strong/bloody violence, and pervasive language)
Running time: 1:47
Where to watch: Now playing in theaters
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