Empire (2002)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  6 December 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 6,336 users   Metascore: 38/100
Reviews: 66 user | 54 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

A successful South Bronx drug dealer turns his back on his roots and gives money to a Wall Street broker to invest for him.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chedda (as Treach)
Rafael Báez ...
Tito Severe (as Fat Joe 'Joseph Cartagena')
Omar Pastran ...
Rob B. Campbell ...
Det. O'Brien


A big time drug dealer Victor Rosa is looking to get out of the game and sees his chance with a big deal and a new friend who happens to be a Wall St. stockbroker. Thinking this will be his chance to go out on top, Victor soon finds out that he has been double crossed and his last option is to get revenge. Written by El Toro

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two worlds collide.


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and some sexuality | See all certifications »





Release Date:

6 December 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Империя  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,281,415 (USA) (6 December 2002)


$31,948 (South Africa) (25 July 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shot in 22 days. See more »


(at arouns 42 mins) There is a wide fish-eye dolly shot and in the lower right corner a grip's shadow, white sneaker, and what looks like a strap come into frame briefly. See more »


Victor Rosa: The way we should be living. My woman deserves it, my kid deserves it, and I deserve it. Fuck everything else.
See more »


Referenced in Scary Movie 3 (2003) See more »


Slow Down
Written by India Arie, Shannon Sanders and Ricardo Quiñones
Performed by India Arie
Courtesy of Motown Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A latino NYC drug world with one large twist...not bad, not great
15 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Empire (2002)

Not knowing much about the drug world, or about the Latino drug world in Brooklyn in particular, I was fascinating on the basic level of curiosity. And some amazement, I suppose.

This isn't a badly made movie. The leading actor, John Leguizamo, is subtle enough as Victor Rosa and has an inner core of decency to keep you identified enough to watch. The plot needs that because there's a lot of the well worn drug violence to wear you out. There is also, however, a second plot element that you don't quite expect—Rosa finds an opportunity to invest his drug earnings into high yield stock deals through a very non- Latino Wall Street man.

So there is a big twist or two to come, and this really makes the movie more of a fictional bit of creativity. Written and directed by Franc Reyes, "Empire" is about all kinds of rivalries. It's also wants to be about love and is thin there. You wish he had taken the slightly different tack the script offered him and tilted away from the shooting and strutting (lots of cocks hanging out here) and more into the minds and hearts of these people, who start to become real for us.

No such luck. Somehow they managed to get Isabella Rossellini in for a small but good part—if you're a fan you'll enjoy that. And Leguizamo adds some tenderness (real or not) to larger scene. And location shooting, frankly, is really nice, showing not the usual sides of New York (or LA) and not the romanticized ethnic neighborhoods (like the Italian or Jewish sections of old), but the regular, rough-edged reality of Brooklyn now. Or at least in 2002. Things keep changing down there really fast.

I don't recommend or not this movie—it's purely about whether you like this kind of world and want to get immersed in it. Nothing really special happens, but it's got a steady interest that might keep you going.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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