Valerie Young is a rookie police officer. But don’t count that against her. She’s served in the military and knows how things work. And she has an unfliching thirst for justice (not to mention a classic six-shooter on her hip that she’s pretty doggone good with).
Yes sir, Valerie is a cop’s cop if ever there was one.
However, that doesn’t mean that she has even the slightest idea of all that’s going to happen on this particular night in her end of the Nevada desert. To begin the night, Valerie gets punched in the face by some slimy, weaselly looking guy. She promptly hauls him into the station and has him locked up.
What Valerie, doesn’t know quite yet is that said weasel is actually a slippery con man named Teddy Murreto. He wanted to be arrested so that he could slip from the clutches of a lethal killer who’s chasing him, a guy by the name of Bob Viddick.
Of course, an assassin like Viddick isn’t going to be thwarted so easily, I mean he’s known in certain circles as the killer who once cut off a guy’s leg so he’d have something big enough to beat him with. So Viddick douses himself in booze, pretends to be driving under the influence and soon finds himself in a cell near Murreto.
Now, there are two deadly hombres in the station. Guys that the officers think are just a couple losers.
Truth be told, though, that’s only the tip of the double-crossing and triple-crossing iceberg that’s soon to to be slip-sliding in on Valerie and her fellow cops. Their Nevada station will soon be inundated with crooked cops; bad Feds; nefarious plots and betrayals; and a whole lot of murder and mayhem.
And the only one that’ll be able to stand up against all that is … one rookie cop named Valerie.
It’s gonna be a long night.
Valerie has several opportunities to turn a blind eye to wrong doing in situations that would generally be in her self-interest. But she refuses in every case. Instead, she chooses to stand up against criminals, even when badly wounded.
Even though he repeatedly denies it, it’s plain to see that Teddy Murreto is incredibly worried about the safety and well-being of his ex-wife and son, who are on the run because of his misdeeds.
Someone is said to be “never more than a day in front of the devil.” A crude statement is made about a drunken man suggesting that he (to put it in milder terms) smells like Satan’s backside. Val states that her grandfather had “bullets before prayers” inscribed on his helmet during WWII.
When Murreto runs up and purposely punches Valerie in the face (which later turns into a nasty bruise) she hits him with a Taser and then zaps his prone body a few times for good measure. There are several different situations in which people struggle and fight similarly. People are tackled, punched and kicked, and in some cases fall from second story railings down onto file cabinets and the floor below.
A drunk slams his car into another vehicle and barely misses hitting two policemen. A car chase smashes up several vehicles. A car is rigged with explosives, and its occupant barely escapes with his life.
Far more common, however, are gunfights (and the resulting deaths) involving shotguns, pistols and machine guns. In fact, there are gunfights aplenty here; blood spews on walls, floors and windows.
We see people shot in the forehead, face and upper body. And in some cases, we see their bloody wounds. Valerie, for instance, is shot in the side and pulls up her shirt to reveal a gory wound that she attempts to wrap with the contents of a small first-aid kit. She slumps against a door and is soon sitting in a pool of her own blood.
A group of cops and FBI agents fall into a high body-count shootout with one another. A man is viciously pounded in the face and throat, to the point that his airpipe is crushed and he spews blood. Someone then cuts open his throat to allow him to breathe. Val snaps someone’s dislocated jaw back into place.
A man is forced to shoot his own friend. He’s then shot in both knees and tortured with multiple Taser zaps, as well as pepper spray being shot his wounds. Someone has a knife jammed into his hand, then uses that impaled hand to rip out another man’s throat. Etc.
Some 100 f-words and more than 15 s-words mingle with almost 20 uses of “a—” and multiple uses each of “h—,” “d–n,” “b–ch” and “b–tard.” God’s and Jesus’ names are both misused a total of a dozen times (with God’s name being combined with “d–n” for eight of those).
A crooked cop steals a bag full of drugs from the station’s evidence locker. After dressing a wound, Valerie gives herself a stimulant shot so she can keep going.
Crooked cops and crooked FBI agents are involved in a murder that centers around drugs and a great deal of money. (They all kill people and break a number of laws, including the disposal of bodies.) Two different police cars are stolen. Val commandeers an ambulance to chase a criminal.
Unlike some current actioners that get all glaring and gritty as they savagely tear apart their characters and splash buckets of lurid gore at the screen, Copshop takes a bit different tack.
To be clear, this story still gets plenty grisly. But Copshop unapologetically stirs its mystery, manslaughter and muck into a moussaka of ’70s pulp and grinning, winking bravado. And then it shines a spotlight on an uncompromising female cop who viewers can’t help but cheer for.
That cinematic recipe makes for a movie dish with an unexpected appeal—even for those who would ordinarily blanch at this brand of messy content.
But don’t get me wrong: The nasty content here is still very messy. Copshop’s shoot’-em-down-and-bleed’-em-out death-dealing is wincingly brutal and the foul-mouthed script is plenty wince-worthy all on its own.
So, discerning movie ticket-buyers beware.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.