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After failing to get into the police academy, Chris Potamitis (Liam Hemsworth), settles for a security guard job with the EMPIRE STATE Armored Truck Company. Chris makes the mistake of mentioning the company's lax security to his best friend, Eddie (Michael Angarano), and is soon unwittingly drawn into an elaborate scheme to rob the abundant amounts of cash being stored there - resulting in the largest cash heist in U.S. History. As the stakes continue to rise, Chris and Eddie must outwit James Ransone (Dwayne Johnson), the veteran NYPD Detective that is hot on their trail, as well as the local crime bosses that want to know who pulled a job on their turf, or suffer the consequences. Written by
Chris Hemsworth is Chris Potamitis, the eldest child of a Greek immigrant family living in America who thirsts for greater purpose in a world of crime, thuggery and greed.
Always at his side is his stereotypically loud-mouthed, crass mate Eddie, who does not understand why Chris would want to aspire to bigger things. Eddie's attitude reflects that of his struggling family who are constantly bogged down in poverty and surrounded by negativity.
As Chris struggles to do good in the world, he finds himself knocked down a peg when his partner is killed during a robbery after he takes a security guard job, and Chris is once again thrust into a world of crime as he tries to make something out of the situation he's in, eventually leading to greater and more dangerous repercussions than he could imagine.
There's lots of potential in Empire State, and all the elements of a good thriller are here. The trailer certainly set the stage for a grand drama. Unfortunately, this film is less than the sum of its parts. All of the necessary ingredients are in the recipe, but they are delivered without any real bang. Set pieces fizzle, and the tired American stereotypes tested my patience. There are twists that will peak your interest and there is some good character development on Hemsworth's behalf, but it all feels rather unambitious. The narrative never takes the time to slow down crucial moments and transitions from scene to scene of fast-talking Latin-Americans. Visually, the 80s have been better depicted in many other films. Some care and passion in the production process would have created a better product.
Worth the price of admission? Hard to say. It's easy to enjoy if you're not too critical, but there are much better offerings both in the genre and from 2013.
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