I was watching one of my DVD’s (yes, DVD not Blu-ray) about the American Film Institute’s Top 100 movies of all-time. In 1998, when the AFI first released “the list” they had a 10 part series on each of the varied genres of the films selected. In one of those segments, a film critic (I forget who) classified Humphrey Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs (from Treasure of the Sierra Madre) as “…the first clinically paranoid protagonist in film.” If you’re wondering why I’m mentioning this, it’s because the star of a film doesn’t have to be a great guy (or gal), rather their characters can technically do bad things (think Deadpool), but still be the “star” of the show. All of that applies to Copshop, Joe Carnahan’s latest directorial effort and one that makes you scratch your head wondering if these kinds of people actually exist. They do. Fans of Carnahan know that he specializes in gritty dramas (The Grey, Narc and Smokin’ Aces among others).
Let’s hope that movies that take place indoors are your thing as nearly all of this film takes place inside, you guessed it, a police station. We meet con artist Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) who’s arrested for sucker punching an officer. An assassin, Bob Biddick (Gerard Butler) purposefully gets himself arrested as well so that he can be close to Teddy, who he’s assigned to kill. We also get acquainted with Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss), a psycho hitman as well as Huber (Ryan O’Nan), a corrupt cop working inside the station. Smack dab in the middle of this is Valerie Young (Alexis Louder). She locks herself in the cell with Teddy and Bob as she’ll need at least one of them to survive Lamb and Huber. Her choice isn’t exactly simple: if she frees Bob, he’ll kill Teddy. If she frees Teddy, he’ll most likely kill Bob. She needs to figure out which one won’t kill her in the process.
I’m not an expert on casting for films or television shows, but I have to say that both Grillo and Butler are perfectly suited for their roles. They both have an edge to them and this gritty drama plays to both of their strengths. Having said that, it’s hard to find someone to root for. We want to like the leads, but it’s really Valerie (Louder) that’s the star of the show and the character with the most depth. Lamb and Huber are more extreme versions of themselves, but every film needs that. In a film where most everyone is morally challenged, who do you really root for? This, of course, is the kind of film that Joe Carnahan loves and why he was a great choice to direct. If films like Training Day or Assault on Precinct 13 are up your alley, Copshop will make your day.
Video: How’s it look?
As mentioned above, a good majority of this film takes place inside a police station. As such, the image is a bit compromised. By that I mean that we’re not going to get these amazingly crisp and sharp fine details along with the entire color spectrum. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good-looking picture, most new to the format films are these days, but it’s not one that will showcase what a beautiful picture Blu-ray can produce. Grillo and Butler, again, are perfectly suited for their roles. Both have the appearance of someone that’d work on your car with a beer in hand (or maybe that’s just me). Contrast is solid and as we might imagine, there’s an oh so faint layer of grain that persists.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Admittedly, there are several instances in which the DTS HD Master Audio mix does take front and center. Guns fire (a lot), the sound of cell doors closing and so forth. There are no shortage of little nuanced sounds that will keep your speakers happy. Vocals are rich and crisp as well, both of the male leads lower their voice an octave or two and do their best Russell Crowe impression. Hey, it works. In short, it’s a lively track that’s sure to satisfy.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You’re reading this correctly – there are no supplements on this disc.
The Bottom Line
This isn’t a “feel good” film by any stretch of the imagination. But it quickly got my attention and never really relinquished it. I like movies like that. It’s not trying to make a statement – just have a good time (albeit with some morally questionable characters). You’ll likely know right off the bat if this one is up your alley or not. If so, you’ll have a good time. If not, watch something else.