For years director Joe Carnahan has been attached to a remake of Indonesian action film, The Raid. In press, he has been insistent that it is a loose remake, because he has no intention of making another film with a raid on a building, having already tackled that premise for Smokin’ Aces. What is confusing to me is why instead of remaking The Raid, Carnahan has made another film about a raid on a building, with a set-up similar to Assault on Precinct 13.
Copshop opens with a grindhouse style that disappears after the title credits have ended, only to inexplicably appear again for the end credits. We join con artist and police informant Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) as he escapes a crime scene in a bullet-ridden cop car. In order to evade whatever threat he is running from, Murretto sucker-punches police officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) outside a casino and is taken to the local police station.
Murretto isn’t as safe as he thinks in the police station, which is easily infiltrated by a hired hitman named Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler), who pretends to be drunk in order to get himself placed in holding beside the informant. Viddick isn’t the only one aware of the valuable target behind bars, and a psychopathic hitman named Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss) carries out a direct assault on the station. Lamb initially enters under the guise of being a delivery man with balloons.
As little sense as it makes that someone would deliver balloons to a police station, a Bugs Bunny balloon makes it obvious that we are meant to draw a comparison between the Lamb and the cartoon rabbit. The cartoonish approach to violence would have been more enjoyable if the exact same gimmick hadn’t already been used by Clive Owen in the 2007 action film, Shoot ‘Em Up. This is the problem with Copshop; no matter how fun the film may be, it continually gave me the feeling of déjà vu. Actual déjà vu, not the made-up definition used in the film’s Tarantino-imitating dialogue.
Copshop is an easy view, despite being overlong. It is entertaining, so long as originality is not what you desire. There are far better films. Watch The Raid, Assault on Precinct 13, Shoot ‘Em Up, Free Fire, or even Smokin’ Aces for more reliable entertainment. Even Carnahan’s last film, Boss Level, had more base thrills than Copshop, which is a bit talky in the first half for a movie that is imitating grindhouse releases. This is not a bad film, but often feels like a bit of lazy filmmaking.
The Blu-ray release comes with three ways to watch the film; high-definition disc, DVD, and a digital code for Movies Anywhere. Special features are surprisingly lacking, especially give the attention this film initially received.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 5/10
Special Features: 4/10