This past weekend presented a dilemma. Neither the new Clint Eastwood film Cry Macho or the one I ultimately chose, Copshop, appealed to me. When a movie reviewer such as myself is not inspired by any of the top selections, how does one make a decision? The first place I went to was rotten tomatoes. The fan reaction to both was roughly equal, so that was a wash. The critic rating for Cry Macho, though, was a bit lower than for Copshop. I chalk that up to critics generally still being mad at Eastwood for his speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC) a few years ago. In any case, the man is over ninety years of age, and still seemingly trying to do action. Thus, the choice came down to whether or not I wanted to see a really old guy shooting a gun, or some slightly less older guys shooting guns. I went with the slightly less older guys and saw Copshop.
Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) opens Copshop on the run . . . from somebody. He is in a stolen police vehicle that he eventually abandons. Cut to rookie officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) practicing her gun handling while her sergeant (Chad Coleman) chows down on a burger from a food truck. It is not long before their break is interrupted by a call of a disturbance at a nearby casino. Officer Young wades into the brawl when they arrive, but is soon sucker punched by our mysterious Teddy. It would appear this is part of his plan, and is seems perfectly comfortable as he is taken into custody. After a brief interrogation, he is given his phone call. He attempts to reach his ex-wife, but there is no answer, and is soon taken to a holding cell. He is joined minutes later in the cell across from his by an extremely drunk John Doe. This turns out to be a hitman named Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler), and he is there to kill Teddy. The reason for this murder mission, as it eventually unfolds to Officer Young, is that Teddy is something known as a “fixer.” A district attorney had been fatally shot in his office, and Teddy knows too much about the people involved. He thus got himself arrested for protection. There are several pitfalls to this plan. The first of these is one of Officer Young’s co-workers, Officer Huber (Ryan O’Nan). Apparently, he owes . . . something . . . to powerful people, and has tipped them off to Teddy’s presence in the station. This brings a grand total of two assassins to headquarters. The first is the aforementioned Bob. The second is Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss). While bickering about Bob’s mission, Teddy accuses his fellow detainee of being a psychopath. Bob responds by citing professional pride, and when Anthony shows up, he points to the new arrival as the real psychopath. This is demonstrated by the fact that Anthony gleefully and wantonly murders every police officer he sees, except for Huber, who helps. Officer Young, though, is able to make her way to the holding cells and barricade herself inside. In the process, she accidentally shoots herself in the stomach, so time is running out for her. The two convicts try to convince her to join their cause, citing the need to take care of her wound before she bleeds to death. For Bob, it is simple. He tries to get her to understand that Teddy is a bad man. If she freed Bob, he would accomplish his mission of taking an awful person out of this world and allow her get help. With Teddy, it involves building trust. To do so, he tells her more about how he got in this situation, even though the fellow officer she contacts to corroborate his story, Detective Schier (Tracey Bonner), claims it is false. This is because she is in on the whole sordid business, though this aspect of the plot goes nowhere. Anyway, eventually Officer Young ends up tossing the keys to Teddy, who then takes her gun in order to do battle with Anthony. When he does not come back as promised, she then turns to Bob. This all sets up a ridiculous shootout inside police headquarters that ends in the deaths of Anthony, Huber, and Teddy. Bob does come to Officer Young’s rescue when Detective Schier gets to the station and is about to kill the rookie for her part in this nonsense. Bob then drives away as other emergency personnel finally get to the scene. Not content with letting him go, Officer Young then hijacks the ambulance she is in and takes off in pursuit. And that concludes this circus.
There are as many plot holes in Copshop as there are bullet holes in cars, windows, and walls in the various scenes. I am going to talk about just one as being emblematic of the lack of attention to detail that so often goes unnoticed with these films, but nonetheless captures my attention. Often people tell me that I should just switch off my brain and enjoy the cool action or pretty scenery. That has never been my modus operandi. What annoyed my most was how Officer Young’s calls for help went virtually ignored. I am no expert on such matters, but I would think that a police station under siege would get every cop from here to Manitoba rushing to the scene to assist. Yet, she spends hours in the holding cells bleeding and being badgered by two lunatics. And then, when others do finally arrive, we see only two fire trucks?
I guess for my Faith angle to this review of Copshop I will focus a little more on Officer Young. I admire her commitment to doing the right thing, even if it is a bit extreme by the end. She does, though, tell an interesting story about her Great Grandfather fighting Nazis in North Africa. She starts this tale by mentioning a saying of her ancestor’s: “Bullets before prayers.” I suppose the implication is that guns will provide answers long before God does. That is, of course, flawed and short-sighted logic, though understandable. In the middle of a firefight, if a person were to stop shooting to pray, that person would probably not be long for the earth. A lot of what we do, whether we are in a gun battle or stuck in daily traffic, involves a set of decisions to avoid death. In war, you kill or be killed, and in traffic, you wait for a green light to go through an intersection. Imagine, though, the person who earnestly turns to God in prayer during a battle. It may seem silly, but our lives are not our own. That person could be spared and come away from the experience with a deeper sense of God. Who knows? With the film, the ends seem to justify the means in that bad guys must die. As such, it is bullets, bullets, and more bullets, and forget prayer entirely. Sad.
There is no reason to see Copshop. The plot is vague. Some of the effects are really cheesy as well, especially with the fire at the end. I think the only reason anyone enjoyed it was because of Toby Huss’ performance. Whatever. Its only purpose is to show violence. I need a little more from the films I enjoy.