Very spoilery, including the ending. Watch the movie first! Also, is the plural of man-bun man-buns or men-bun? (If you’re after my review of Copshop, it’s here.)
I’m not angry, Teddy, just… disappointed. I have only myself to blame though. When someone tells you who they are, listen, and that includes having a man-bun, or stealing a woman’s sandwich from the communal fridge. (There’s always someone in an office pulls that shit and 15 years since I actually worked in an office I’m still fucking mad about it.)
Little Shop Of Coppers — sorry, Copshop — may be delirious, pulpy fun without a message but it’s interesting who it makes us root for, and why.
Valerie, of course. Her inexperience is almost eclipsed by her thoughtfulness, her willingness to think everything through and judge her evidence. Even though she knows she might make the wrong choice, it’s a considered choice.
But the rest? Okay, all three men — conman Teddy Murretto, hitman Bob Viddick and psychopathic killer Tony Lamb — are undeniably awful, but someone has to be least worst and which is it?
Bob wants to kill Teddy. Lamb wants to kill Teddy too. But as it’s a “freefire contract”, open to both men, to kill Teddy and get the money Bob needs to kill Lamb and Lamb needs to kill Bob.
Initially details are dropped in to make us sympathise with Teddy. A conman rather than a psycho, he has an ex-wife and a young son, and while he blusters to Viddick that he doesn’t care what happens to them he really does. He comes across as a deluded, big-talking, lower-case criminal who somehow thought he could rip off the big boys and get away with it.
His biggest crime is that hair; his best-ever decision buying those snakeskin boots which remain pristine throughout, even after his car explodes. After the nuclear apocalypse, apart from Joan Collins the only thing that survives will be Teddy’s snakeskin boots.
We never root for Tony as he’s a true psychopathic killer. He’s already shot five people in between walking into the police station and chasing Valerie into the processing cells area, where she locks herself in with Viddick and Teddy.
But Bob? Might Bob even have a human heart beating beneath that greasy chest hair? (I’m fantasising now, we don’t actually see it.) Though he’s an assassin, Bob does not appear to be a sadist. It’s a job, not a vocation.
As the story unfolds Bob’s dropped-in comments and hints about Teddy’s penchant for double-crossing casts a haze of uncertainty over him. He’s right, of course. With corrupt cop Huber and psychopathic killer Tony Lamb prowling the corridors outside the locked cells, Teddy legs it when Valerie trusts him enough to let him go.
Bob could of course give Val chapter and verse on what Teddy has done at the start, so he can hardly complain when — with Huber and Tony trying to smash their way through a wall into Teddy’s cell — she gives Teddy the cell keys and her gun, trusting a conman to save her life. He promises to return her weapon and bring her the trauma kit in the police station kitchen which she needs to survive the bullet wound in her side, though Bob warns her Teddy will betray her. She’s also forced to admit to Teddy that his family are dead, and when he hears the M.O. Bob says it will have been Lamb.
Eventually, when Bob has persuaded Val that Teddy isn’t coming back, she lets him out too. He heads out into the bullet-strewn battlefield of the police station corridors and restrooms, and tracks down first Huber, who he kneecaps and tasers before spraying his bullet wounds with mace. Okay maybe Bob’s a sadist too, but only to bad people. Then he takes on Tony, cutting his throat with a knife that is still stuck through his own hand, though he needs a bigger one if he wants to cut off Tony’s head, like he’s promised.
Teddy is behind him though, and with both men aiming guns at each other Bob suggests a ceasefire so Teddy can finish off Tony. Instead Teddy shoots Bob, before shooting Tony dead and throwing away Val’s gun. He sloshes petrol everywhere, sets it on fire and heads to the kitchen — and in a final fuck-you to Valerie, eats her sandwich out of the fridge.
But then he notices the trauma kit Val requested is opened next to him, and behind him is… Valerie. Patched up, and propelled by a need for justice, the blast of an adrenaline injection, and quite possibly hunger, she is ready to fight. She points out she took a bullet to protect him and that Viddick was right about him: “We are what we are. Always.”
They shoot and chase each other round the approaching flames, until, out of ammo, she finds one bullet under a desk. It’s time for the game her now-dead colleague Pena showed her earlier: Rodent Roulette. Back home, Pena and his dad would put one bullet in the holder, whizz it round and try to smack it into the gun at just the right time to shoot a squirrel. Valerie takes the bullet, spins, and manages to blast a retreating Teddy in the back.
She thinks she’s ok, until she’s shot again, this time by the suddenly appearing Deena Schier, the corrupt Vegas detective leading the investigation into the murder of a Vegas district attorney.
Schier doesn’t see Big Bob Viddick though, Val’s knight in shiny (greasy) armour, who blasts Schier to death, shoots Teddy, and rebuffs Val’s questions about whether he was working with Schier. “What does it matter? You made it… Let it go.” He helps the injured Valerie to the building entrance then steals a police car and heads off along the dusty roads, just as the fire engines arrive to put out the flames.
It turns out he was a good ‘un after all, comparatively speaking.
Driving along, he puts on the radio, and finds it’s the Curtis Mayfield song Freddie’s Dead. Tony had sung it to them in the cells, changing the lyrics to Teddy’s Dead.
In the ambulance, Valerie, presumably deciding that no she isn’t going to let it go, leaves the paramedics by the side of the road and drives off in pursuit of Viddick. Turning on the radio, she hears the same song and starts singing along.
It’s a bit cheesy but then again I think they had a deep and meaningful connection. By which I mean, he fancies the pants off her and she’s going to arrest him and throw him in the nick.
I’m going to give you a head’s up though Valerie, don’t look in Bob’s bag.