Tag Archives: frank grillo

‘Copshop’ Review

Sometimes all the pieces are there, but a film just doesn’t work for ya…

“Copshop” stars Frank Grillo as a mob fixer who gets locked in a jail alongside the hitman hired to kill him (Gerard Butler), as the pair and a rookie cop (Alexis Louder) must work together to survive an assault on the police station. Joe Carnahan directs a script he co-wrote.

I am a big fan of Frank Grillo, he has a decent B-movie screen presence and has turned in solid supporting roles in films like “Warrior” and “End of Watch,” and while I have no real opinion on Gerard Butler as an actor, I think he has made some decent films, including last year’s surprisingly good “Greenland.” I also have a love-hate relationship with director Joe Carnahan, so on paper this film should have at least in-part worked for me. Spoiler: it didn’t.

This is one of those films that knows exactly what it wants to do, but as commendable as that is, it was just never gelling for me. Outside the main trio characters are completely expendable and have zero true character traits or development, and while deep mythos and deep plots aren’t what you look for in an old-school shoot-em-up, it’s nice to have something to grasp onto as an audience member.

Grillo and Butler aren’t mailing it in, but they’ve both been better. In fact, they spend a majority of the film’s runtime spent locked up in jailcells. The real star of the show is Alexis Louder, who is likely only known for her supporting role in this year’s “The Tomorrow War.” Louder has a nice charisma about her, and while her work her isn’t enough to save the film as a whole, it is a nice calling card for her moving forward.

The action set pieces just never grab you, and a lot of the blood is clearly done in post. Again, the film is clearly going for that 90s/2000s B-movie feel, but it just feels more cheap than it does campy. For being pretty thinly written, the plot is needlessly convoluted (several plot points are introduced only to be abandoned or quickly resolved in the third reel), and this would’ve just worked better as a straight cat-and-mouse game between Grillo and Butler.

“Copshop” isn’t the kind of bad movie that makes you upset, just disappointed that it is never anywhere near as fun as it should be given all it has at its disposal. If you want a brainless time at the movies and have absolutely zero expectations, then sure, maybe toss this one a bone (it moves quick enough, all things considered). But all parties involved have done better work, and there are films out right now that are better uses of your time and money.

Critics Rating: 4/10

Third ‘Purge’ a Boring Letdown

The_Purge_Election_YearFrank Grillo is one badass man.


“The Purge: Election Year” is the third installment of the Purge series and is again written and directed by James DeMonaco. Frank Grillo also reprises his role from the second film, this time as the head of security for a presidential candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) who wants to get rid of the Purge, the annual night where every crime is legal.


The original Purge film was pretty boring, and disappointed many people because it promised a crazy “everything goes” night of violence but turned out to just be a standard home invasion “thriller” (term used very lightly). The second film, “Anarchy,” was a relatively solid action flick and showcased the chaos that viewers wanted to see in the world of the Purge. “Election Year” takes the good from “Anarchy” but the bad from the first film, and the end product is a mundane, cliché action film that tries and mostly fails to be anything more than that.


First things first, Frank Grillo is the best part of the film; I’ve liked him for a few years now, since he was in supporting roles in the likes of “Warrior” and “The Grey.” He was great in “Anarchy” and again carries the load here as the leader of the group with a pistol always drawn. Grillo has a calm demeanor about him, and he is as cool as he is intense.


The rest of the cast, however, is an entirely different story. Pretty much every single other actor in here gives a performance ranging from fine to awful, and there is some overacting that is just plain cringe-inducing. Characters widen their eyes and tilt their heads, which is one thing about the Purge series that I have always hated and never understood. Just because crime is legal for one night a year, suddenly every human being, even when it isn’t Purge night, acts and talks like they just escaped the looney bin. It takes you out of the movie and also knocks any serious undertones the film is trying to convey.


Which brings me to my next point: I am all for a film trying to be more than a by-the-numbers action/horror flick. But “Election Year” doesn’t seem to have any true messages or social commentaries on its mind; it just throws some ideas at the wall and hopes one sticks.

I’m not trying to get political, I myself try to stay out of politics and hate the two party system, but it should be noted this film almost goes out of its way to paint Conservatives as insane religious, Neo-Nazi fanatics who hate the poor and love the NRA, while the other side (led by a female Senator, I won’t name names who its likely an analogy for) have Americans’ best interests at hearts. I’m not knocking the film for choosing sides, just how out of the way they went to do so, and some viewers may be turned off altogether by it.


Unlike “Anarchy,” “Election Year” isn’t an action movie. It has three big shootouts, each of which is well-staged and entertaining, but they’re so far, few and in between that it is more of a shake awake than a well-earned treat.


“The Purge: Election Year” is better than the original and Frank Grillo is fun towatch, but the dull narrative and lack of any intelligence to back up its desire to be political satire sink it to the level of almost unrecommendable. I went into this with relative high hopes but walked out disappointed, and if this is the direction the series is headed in, perhaps it is time to purge the franchise.


Critics Rating: 4/10



‘The Purge: Anarchy’ Vastly Better than First

The_Purge_–_Anarchy_Poster            “Spider-Man 2”. “The Two Towers”. “The Purge: Anarchy.” Bet you never guessed those three films would be mentioned together, yet here they are. And what do all these films have in common? They are all sequels that vastly improve upon their predecessors.

Set in the year 2023, America has been “reborn” (as the film reminds you a dozen times) due to one night a year where all crime is legal. A stranded couple, a kidnapped mother and daughter, and a man out for revenge are all left on the streets when the annual “Purge” commences, and must team up to survive the night. James DeMonaco, writer/director from the first film, returns.

The first “Purge” film was very meh. It had an interesting premise, but that’s about as far as it got. It really didn’t take advantage of its “no laws” world, and instead opted to become a basic shoot-em-up home invasion thriller. With “Purge: Anarchy”, the filmmakers actually listened to the audience and gave us what we wanted: a glance at a world where all crime is legal.

The characters in this sequel are much more relatable, and much more intelligent, than those in the first. Frank Grillo, who is very underrated but a boss in most every role he takes, steals the show as a man who is trying to get revenge for his son’s wrongful death. He is the leader of the ragtag group, and is the glue that holds the film together. He’s much more entertaining than Ethan Hawke’s rich daddy role in the last film. You feel sympathy for the other characters, too, but you never feel any real emotional connection to them, which is pretty standard in a horror-action film.

That brings up another aspect where “Anarchy” improves: it doesn’t try to be an actual horror film and instead knows it’s an action thriller, that implements moments of tension and shock. There are some genuinely edgy parts of this film, especially when the group is lurking around the dark streets of Los Angeles, trying to stay out of sight from maniacs.

Now the film isn’t perfect, and most of the flaws are the same thing that held the first film down, albeit this time they aren’t as prevalent. There are still some dull moments, particularly those leading up to the commencement of the Purge, and there are still some horror film clichés, such as people tripping for no reason and cars dying just as they are needed most. Although, the film does give a solid explanation for the car’s battery failing, enough that I didn’t roll my eyes, so I’ll give them some points.

I enjoyed “The Purge: Anarchy”, probably for the same reasons most people will: it’s much better than the first film, and it actually delivers on its creative promise. Grillo is engaging, the action is very well shot and the immersing into this twisted world is very convincing. You can’t take a film like this too seriously, and it may try and reach too far towards social and political commentary, but if you take it at face value, “The Purge: Anarchy” is a fun time at the movies.

Critics Rating: 7/10