Copshop (2021): Just Another Bloody Day at the Police Office

“Copshop” is directed by Joe Carnahan (The A-Team, The Blacklist) and stars Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Purge: Anarchy), Gerard Butler (Gods of Egypt, 300), and Alexis Louder (Watchmen, The Originals) in a film centered around a rookie cop who must deal with those who surround her in a police station.

I saw this film late at night at a local AMC because I had nothing better to do except shove popcorn in my face. I heard things about this film, some of which were positive, so I was intrigued. The reality is that when it comes to “Copshop,” I do not think I saw a single trailer of the film before letting the film shine on the screen for the first time.

I like my action films. Although when it comes to “Copshop,” it was something I could not really place in any box. It was an experience where I had to keep my eyes open, sit down, wait for the screen to brighten with some action. And despite this movie mostly taking place in one location with a somewhat limited set of characters, action there was. “Copshop” is not a movie I will be running down the streets screaming about, asking everyone to flock to the theater just to see it, but it is one that I recommend. If you like cop media, you might find this movie entertaining. If you like a blend of action and comedy, you might find this movie fun. This is a film that put me into the action and made me ask what the best move for our protagonist, Valerie Young, could possibly be. She is put into dangerous situations with potentially dire outcomes, and at times, the stakes feel high despite the movie not feeling incredibly enormous. I will give the writers credit where it’s due for coming up with a concept that does not feel expansive on the surface, but that expansiveness grows in terms of potential outcomes.

The reality is that “Copshop,” conceptually, does not break new ground. Glimmers of it can evoke a “been there, done that” feel. But if you have seen a number of movies that have a concept of someone getting revenge over the past number of years, you may agree that not every movie needs to break ground to be great. Some great movies can handle clich├ęs to such a satisfying extent that can leave the viewer hooked, and “Copshop” is an example of that.

As for the cast in this film, I had some past experience with Frank Grillo’s work in the MCU, and just this summer I saw him in the Ryan Reynolds sequel, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.” I was never completely invested in Grillo’s career, but I nevertheless had a knowledge of who he was. The one question mark I had about this movie though, aside from what the heck this film is truly about given the little research I did on it, was Gerard Butler, because as much as I like him, I also think some of his script choices have been questionable between “Gods of Egypt” and “Geostorm” because even though I’ve seen one of these projects, I could look at both of them and place them in a “Walmart DVD bin” category because they’re movies that if you gave yourself a sneak peek at them, you’d probably find somewhat hilarious for the wrong reasons. Seriously… “Geostorm” sounds like a straight to Syfy crapfest. But I will say, despite everything I just said, Gerard Butler is almost my favorite part of the film in terms of performances. Without giving much away, the reason why I like Gerard Butler in this film so much is because despite the fact that he spends much of the movie in one spot, barely even moving, he can deliver some great lines and some swagger in between.

This is movie is also the supposed theatrical film introduction of Alexis Louder and I think she does a fantastic job in the movie. Louder has a rugged, shaky presence to her. Louder has shown that she can be a force of nature, one that feels so big in a film that is incredibly small. She’s obnoxious, stern, and takes no prisoners. As an observer of her performance in this film alone, I cannot wait to see whatever it is that Alexis Louder will do next.

My favorite performance in the film personally comes from Tony Huss, known for his work on “King of the Hill.” Appropriately, he is the king of “Copshop.” Huss, or as I like to call him, James Murray at age 60, plays a character by the name of Anthony Lamb, he’s the antagonist of the film, he’s the one infiltrating the office, and I like his performance between a mix of simple ingredients. Tony Huss himself, obviously. I will also add the quirky, poppy writing, and there’s a sense of goofiness within this character that sholuld be out of place, but for whatever reason, Huss makes it work like a charm. You have all these people such as Alexis Louder and Gerard Butler who go through the movie with this tone that feels as hard as a cheese grater at times. It still can be lighthearted. It still can be funny. But given who their characters are, they feel all rough and tough. Huss at times feels like a literal clown. I could almost imagine Alexis Louder’s character as a Batman kind of figure facing off against Tony Huss’s character, which I would compare to the Joker.

If I had any problems with “Copshop,” nothing grand comes to mind. “Copshop” hits most of the beats it needs to hit, but I will admit, this is one of those reviews where I am talking about the movie long after I’ve seen it, so I can confirm this statement, this is not one of the more memorable films I have seen. “Copshop” is a fun film, but it is predictable and sometimes by the numbers. But it does not mean it does not pack its own flair into it. I would recommend the film, despite the few flaws it has.

In the end, “Copshop” is a good time. I think the cast is great, some of the dialogue is well written and occasionally funny. Gerard Butler gives one of the best performances of his career. And if this film has done anything, it has made me a bigger fan of Tony Hull. I want to see him do more stuff in the future, I would love to watch him in more comedies. Alexis Louder may have a future in feature film, and I hope if you go see see this film in whatever way you can, that you had as fun of a time as I did. I’m going to give “Copshop” a 7/10.

“Copshop” is now playing in theaters. Tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for “Dear Evan Hansen,” the all new film based on the musical of the same name, and speaking of things based on other things, I will soon be sharing my review for “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” Stay tuned for these reviews, and do so by following Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! Also, be sure to like the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Copshop?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Gerard Butler movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021): I Want a Bodyguard Divorce

“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is directed by Patrick Hughes, who also directed this film’s predecessor, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” This film once again stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, Green Lantern), Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers, Pulp Fiction), Salma Hayek (Grown Ups, Sausage Party), and alongside them are actors including Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Purge: Anarchy), Richard E. Grant (Logan, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), Antonio Banderas (Shrek 2, The Laundromat), and Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight). This film follows Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), the bodyguard who helped protect Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) as he is told to take a break from bodyguarding. That break will have to wait however because Bryce and Kincaid are on another mission together where this time they have save Sonia (Salma Hayek), Darius’s wife, from danger.

I liked “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” when I first saw it. I missed it in the theaters, but I did get it on 4K Blu-ray for Christmas in 2017 and I did watch it a day or two afterwards. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is nothing too special, it’s really kind of disposable, but if you want a fun action flick that can entertain you for a couple of hours, you cannot go wrong. I also really like the film’s use of the song “Black Betty.” I think that was a really fun scene. The film also had an extended shot that kind of reminded me of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” a little bit. Remember the scene from “Kingsman: The Secret Service” where Colin Firth basically annihilates an entire crowd of hate supporters in a church? Between story, music, and action, that scene was outright perfection. Now I am not saying the “one-shot” take in “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is as good as the one in “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” but it is still fun. But the biggest standout from “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. Their characters clearly hate each other, but it never feels off-putting. It adds to the fun of the movie. It was a fun little action film that apparently did well enough at the box office. And of course as pointed out with “Star Wars,” “Fast & Furious,” “The Simpsons,” and “The Bachelor,” you gotta make more of it! No matter how good it is! This is where “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” comes in.

When I think of the “big” studios that stand out the most today, I usually think of Disney (Star Wars, Marvel), Warner Bros. (DC, Harry Potter), and Universal (Despicable Me, Jurassic Park). These studios have staying power and tons of properties they continue to utilize until the end of time. Lionsgate almost had that chance with “Knives Out,” but they sold it to Netflix. They used to be a force in the market with “The Hunger Games” and since the studio was affiliated with Summit, they also did “Divergent.” So they were big for awhile in the young adult adaptation game. They had “Now You See Me,” which paused. “Gods of Egypt” never did too well. “Twilight” is over. Just wait until they remake that eventually. I feel like the one big franchise that Lionsgate has that is the perfect mix of financial success, critical acclaim, and staying power, is “John Wick.” In fact they are coming out with a fourth movie pretty soon. I feel like “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” even though it is directed by Patrick Hughes once again, is Lionsgate making it known that they want this to be a serious franchise. And honestly, if it does become as big as say “Fast & Furious,” they need to do much better. This film was NOT good.

The sad thing is, this film starts off fine. It’s a little absurd, but it’s fine. “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” starts off with of all things, an awards show for bodyguarding. The film continues as Michael Bryce goes to therapy as he is told to stop bodyguarding, and I’ll admit the scene ends with a couple lines that did get a laugh out of me. But as soon as the real action starts, where we see Ryan Reynolds and Salma Hayek in the middle of a fast-paced bike chase, the movie switches its goofiness into high gear. One of the first lines from Samuel L. Jackson’s character and how it is handled is something that I think could be taken in a couple manners. It’s either so goofy that it’s funny. Or, it is incredibly idiotic that the line was executed the way it was.

Apparently, Michael and Darius still hate each other, …I guess? So apparently they have not developed at all since the last movie. Just a reminder, Michael took a bullet for Darius in the last movie. And now apparently they still don’t like each other or barely show respect for each other. I don’t know! It feels forced! It feels like they’re just trying to copy the success of the first movie while lazily inserting something new. In fact there is a new subplot where apparently Darius and his wife, Sonia are trying to have a kid. Let’s just say that it barely adds anything to the movie until say the second half. There’s a point that feels as if Michael says something negative regarding this new reality almost forcibly just to keep said plot going along. It just feels so out of the blue. There are a lot of things that feel offish or out of the blue in this movie. I barely cared about the nearly one-dimensional characters who almost face no noticeable changes by the end. I barely cared about Antonio Banderas on the antagonistic side. I barely cared about anything! The action is not even as good as the original. The bike chase scene was good, there was one moment where Reynolds wielded a pool cue that was pretty funny, but that’s about it. The action overall just did not have the same flair that the original movie gave. This is not to say “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” was a masterpiece, but compared to the sequel, it was a good time.

This movie honestly feels like it is on ADHD. One moment it is here, one moment it is there, the next moment it is everywhere! I am not fully against unpredictable movies that go in weird directions, that is what makes stories interesting, the fact that you don’t know where they’re going. This movie was fairly predictable, but the moments that occurred almost every other minute regardless of predictability just came flying in my face and it is was just too much to take in, especially the bad moments. At times, this movie feels like it could work better as an action-based Fox Animation Domination cartoon. It is so hyperactive and non-stop that it barely gives me a needed moment to breathe, even in parts that are supposedly meant to be slower.

I also really hate the ending, because they supposedly “resolve” an extended plot line in the film in the most off-putting way possible. It’s honestly just weird to think about. I almost want to say what exactly happens in this moment, but I can’t because it is literally the last moment of the movie and if I spoiled it, I might be a jerk. Unfortunately, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” was a jerk to me in the process. You how I mentioned this movie can be predictable? Well, this was an out of left field, outlandish, unpredictable moment, but it is so unpredictable and batcrap crazy that thinking about it makes me want to throw up.

I’ll also add a positive before we go any further. The actors do a fine job with their performances. They are fine, but the sad thing is that the writing is just plain bad. It feels like they just whipped up this sequel in an hour! Apparently, this film was written by three people, including the sole writer of the original film, Tom O’Connor. I was not behind the scenes and I do not know any of these people personally, but if they do a third movie, I wonder if they should just let Tom O’Connor do the work himself because he could arguably be the butter that is woven so perfectly onto the bread that is the “Hitman’s Bodyguard” franchise. But seriously, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are good actors, they play their parts well here. Although I will give extra praise to Salma Hayek, because judging by the title, she has a greater presence in this movie compared to the original, and she solidifies her presence from start to finish. I’ll also add, she seems to swear as much as, if not more than Samuel L. Jackson which says a lot as he is supposedly the guy who “single-handly ruined the word motherf*cker.”

In the end, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” almost feels like it purely exists to make money. Now, just about every movie ever made exists for that reason, but I think that some do a better job at hiding that reason than others. This honestly just feels like a cash grab that exists to capitalize on something that quite honestly, even though the original movie was good, I did not think would become a franchise. Could “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” become say the next “Fast & Furious” or something close to it? Maybe. “Fast & Furious” had some off days too. I think “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” is one of my least favorite movies to this day. That franchise is still kickin’! “F9” literally comes out this week! I honestly at this point do not want to see a third movie in this franchise. Maybe I’ll warm up to it over time, but this kind of left a toxic taste in my mouth that is hard to eliminate. You know that phrase “sequels are not as good as the original”? Well, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is exhibit A. I’m going to give “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” a 3/10.

This movie kind of reminded me of “Venom” because this was a movie that the audience I was with seemed to be fairly invested in for the most part, I felt like a good number of the people in the room enjoyed the movie more than me. I just couldn’t connect with them. More power to them, but for me, I think “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” feels better at this point as a one-off. This sequel should not have happened. I like the actors, I wish them well in their future roles, but this was a bad day at the office.

“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! Later this week I will be sharing a brand new review for the Pixar animated movie “Luca.” Also, tomorrow I will be going to see “F9: The Fast Saga,” so look forward to my review for that as well. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account, and be sure to like the Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard?” What did you think about it? Or, what movie is better? Do you prefer “The Hitman’s Bodyguard?” Or do you prefer “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Black and Blue (2019): The Adventure of the Body Cam

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“Black and Blue” is directed by Deon Taylor (Meet the Blacks, Supremacy) and stars Naomie Harris (Skyfall, Moonlight), Tyrese Gibson (Transformers, 2 Fast 2 Furious), Mike Colter (The Good Wife, Luke Cage), Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Reid Scott (My Boys, Veep), and Beau Knapp (Death Wish, The Nice Guys). This film involves a rookie cop working for the police department in New Orleans. She is on a mission where she is forced to do nothing, only to lead to a moment where some real chaos goes down. This “chaos” by the way, is the killing of a drug dealer, who died as a result of the actions executed by cops. Naomie Harris’ character, Alicia West, sees this and now she is on the run, defending her life.

The film experience I had for “Black and Blue” in particular was very interesting, because unlike a good portion of the films I watch when they first come out, I have not witnessed a single piece of marketing for this one. I will admit, I knew a bit about the plot going into it, but as I was reserving my spot in the theater, this was literally the earliest I have known about this movie.

I just want to remind everyone that this movie is not even out until the final weekend of October. I saw this at an early screening where there seemed to be a good amount of people who scored advance passes. So I’m gonna be pretty vague here with this review. When I saw this movie, I was with a pretty active audience. They would gasp, talk to the screen, and burst out into applause at times as if this were an “Avengers” movie. As for me, I was pretty quiet. There were a few moments where I would react to things, but those reactions were nowhere near as obnoxious or as likely to shake the entire room. Then again, I don’t usually watch movies about cops, maybe it’s because the director, writer, and producers weren’t trying to target me specifically. I don’t know. The point is, this movie is not as good as the rowdy crowd at my theater would have made it seem. In a way, this almost reminded me of “Captain Marvel,” which I had the privilege of seeing this year at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. It’s a movie that when audiences applauded or reacted to something, I honestly either remained in silence or questioned why this was happening in the first place. There were even a select couple of moments where I had my hands on my face. I did the same thing I when I saw “Venom” last year. If you saw that review, you could tell that this isn’t pretty. But staying on the topic of “Captain Marvel…”

Remember when Captain Marvel takes down Yon-Rong with a laser beam in one hit after he’s maniacally rambling? OK, this sort of thing worked in “Raiders of the Lost Ark!” Here it’s just cheap!

Now I am not going to deny that there are a fair share of “edge of your seat” moments that the movie has to offer, but the fact is that when it comes to characters, not everyone stands out. As I left the film, there are a fair share of characters who I felt their motivations or feelings could have been expressed better and overall the film convoluted itself based on how many characters it tries to handle at a time.

In fact, I’m not gonna get into the ending, but let’s just say that it goes on for a time that is longer than I would have anticipated, and it kind of overstays its welcome. There are a couple of things that I would trim out, clean up, some edits that I might end up fixing and speaking of editing, there are a couple moments in this film, albeit in the category of nitpicky, but it does show a select amount of shots where the cinematography almost looks like something out of a student film. There are a couple of shots I think could have been adjusted, but they have little to no real effect on the movie as a whole. I will admit, I am surprised to dive a little deep into the cinematography of this movie, but speaking of surprises…

Screenshot (28)

Let’s talk about Tyrese Gibson. Looking back, I didn’t think about this that much, but Tyrese Gibson does a really good job in this movie. Gibson plays a character by the name of Milo “Mouse” Jackson, who operates a convenience store. Throughout the film, we come to realize that he is the only one who can help Alicia in her current situation. I might need to watch the movie again to know for sure, but compared to some other movies I have seen him in, he seems a lot more calm and collected here. I almost couldn’t even tell Tyrese played the character he was supposed to portray, which may be one of the best compliments I can give to an actor.

As for the main character, I was rooting for her. There was a point, especially during the beginning, where she kind of came off as the only interesting character in the entire movie. Granted, I would rather watch a movie where I care significantly more about the main characters as supposed to supporting characters, but it does not change the fact that when it comes to supporting characters, they’re either bland or unmemorable. I didn’t flat out hate any of them, but the main characters made me feel like I drank 10 cups of coffee whereas the supporting characters made me feel like someone dropped an entire container of Melatonin pills into my body like Tic-Tacs.

When it comes to other things about the movie worth pointing out, part of why I don’t particularly think this movie is going to be all that memorable as time goes on is because of the pacing. The movie tends to maintain a fast pace throughout and sticks with it. But at times, it goes a little haywire. It feels like the movie eventually goes on a sugar rush and gets a little too bombastic with some absurd happenings. There are a couple of moments where I questioned the logic of the movie, and again I’ll bring up the obnoxious crowd I was with. Take out the lively atmosphere, this would probably be a slightly lackluster movie experience.

To quote YouTube user Jacksfilms…

“Wait why are we clapping? Stop clapping!”

In the end, “Black and Blue” was not even close to insufferable. But it also wasn’t even close to a masterpiece. It’s just… Something. …That exists. The experience was undeniably wild, which may be why I wasn’t exactly bored during the movie. I was silent, and at times, annoyed by certain people who happened to be talking, but it was still like a big movie theater party. I’m wondering how this film will do when it releases at the end of October. It’ll definitely get some people in the theater, but so far, most of the reviews I have seen, specifically from outlets like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, have not been great. Unfortunately, this review belongs in that category. Based on how much I think I’ll forget this movie compared some other films that came out this year, I’m going to give “Black and Blue” a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review! Next week is the release of “Joker,” which could possibly be THE BEST comic book movie of the year. I’m planning on seeing it opening weekend, I’m probably not gonna go opening Thursday night, because I might make it a priority to see this film with my dad, because I think he may enjoy it. I’ll have to see if he’s busy, but nevertheless, I am here, I am ready, I am game for “Joker.” Bring it on! If you want to see that review and other great content, be sure follow Scene Before! Also, if you are on Facebook, check out my Facebook page, it helps me out a ton! I want to know, did you see “Black and Blue?” What did you think about it? I’m willing to bet at the time of this review, a majority of you didn’t, so let me ask another question. What is your favorite movie featuring Tyrese Gibson? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!