Empire State
DIRECTOR: Dito Montiel
CAST: Liam Hemsworth, Michael Angarano, Dwayne Johnson and Emma Roberts
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes


Let’s face it, in filmmaking using big-name stars can almost guarantee a director some sort of interest in their product.

They know if they have Al Pacino or Robert de Niro starring in their project, based on that alone, they could get big numbers at the box office. But that’s only half the battle won because it is necessary to have a good story to complement the famous actors.

Taking as an example the pairing of Pacino and De Niro in Righteous Kill, it will never work to have great actors and a weak story. That the two greats were in The Godfather movies is another issue; in that last collaboration in 2008, they failed dismally.

Sadly, this is the case with Empire State, which stars muscleman Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (pictured) who’s done everything from The Fast and the Furious to The Scorpion King.

In this film based on true events, he is matched up with Liam Hemsworth who has also done quite a few good movies which include The Hunger Games and The Expendables.

So with these kind of block- buster titles under their belts it was only natural to have the two co-star as the leads here.

Hemsworth plays Chris, which is, incidentally, his older brother’s name. Chris is a down and out guy who comes from a poor back-ground. He has hopes of becoming a cop to alleviate the poverty in his town.

But that dream falls through and instead he gets a job as a security guard at an armoured car depository. Since he works with large sums of money, it is a matter of time before he succumbs to temptation and decides to steal some. Bad idea.

Enter The Rock, as Detective Ransome, a badass cop who will leave no stone unturned until he finds out what happened to the missing money.

There are many people involved in the story, which drags out the plot. Soon the law catches up with Chris and his cohorts, which leads to a predictable ending.

The story is nothing you haven’t seen before. In fact, think of a watered-down version of The Italian Job or The Town and you have Empire State.

Although Johnson and Hemsworth give their best performances, nothing can save them from a weak plot.

Empire State is a nause- ating piece of work that has so many dud moments it could put you to sleep. The film is based on a true story about the largest cash robbery in US history and at the beginning and the end of the movie there are news clips about the actual heist.

You get the feeling that you would have been better off watching the documentary, with the real heist man, Chris Potamitis. He was the co-scriptwriter of this film and produced it as well, perhaps with the money from his dark past.

This might be where the problem with the movie lies, because while it is great that Potamitis is using film to tell his story, he was not a film-maker prior to Empire State and perhaps that is why there are several plot holes.

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