By Liz Lopez

Rating: B+

Director Joe Carnahan (Boss Level) and co-screenwriter Kurt McLeod have created an action thriller screenplay that some cinefiles may think they know what to anticipate at every scene. It shouldn’t be judged quite yet, even if the two lead roles include Frank Grillo and Gerard Butler (and share producing credits) who each have a myriad of acting credits with this type of action and bullets galore. Anyone who has read the synopsis for this film knows ahead of time that Grillo’s character, con artist Teddy Murretto is on the run and trying to stay a step ahead of Butler’s character, a lethal killer Bob Viddick. Teddy’s plan lands him in a small – town jail in the town of Gun Creek after assaulting a rookie police officer Valerie Young (Watchmen’s Alexis Louder). Viddick lands in jail in a cell opposite Teddy after being charged with a DUI. The script does have several layers of who is on the good or bad side of the law, as well as a high-ranking state official (not Texas) who makes the daytime news. There is a time or two when characters you presume are dead make a comeback, but that does not mean it makes the film wholly predictable. Alexis Louder is the gem in this film and her performance is what takes this film to another level and why it should not be easily dismissed as just another action flick. She is the only female on the force and outshines her colleagues with her strong-will and determination, all – the – way – to – the – end.

The other outstanding performance is by Toby Huss as the bizarre and psycho assassin, Anthony Lamb. He plays him way over the top and it brings another level of mayhem as he makes his way in the front door of the police station and through the halls to reach his target (and finds two). There is some very well written dialogue for Lamb, Murretto, Viddick and Louder, making for some very entertaining scenes.  

Most of the film is set inside the police station, with an occasional flashback when a story is being shared. Cinematographer Juan Miguel Azpiroz does an excellent job as he captures the full action shootouts, as well as the great close – up shots of Louder as she goes into survival mode (especially when the psycho assassin Lamb is loose in the solitary police station). 

Copshop has some fine music, (some very recognizable from Lalo Schifrin/Curtis Mayfield), as well as original music composed by Clinton Shorter (District 9, Contraband, 2 Guns, Pompeii, Boss Level).

Overall, the script is good, with the occasional formulaic scenes (fires burning), but having cast Louder as this sharp cop is never anything less than entertaining, engaging and wanting to see more of what she can do.

With: Chad Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Cantillo, Kaiwi Lyman, Robert Walker-Branchaud, among others.

Rating: R Running Time: 147 minutes Release Date: September 17, 2021

Source: Open Road, WarParty

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