A successful South Bronx drug dealer turns his back on his roots and gives money to a Wall Street broker to invest for him.A successful South Bronx drug dealer turns his back on his roots and gives money to a Wall Street broker to invest for him.A successful South Bronx drug dealer turns his back on his roots and gives money to a Wall Street broker to invest for him.
Shiftless filmmaking spoils worthy storyline in "Empire"
There's probably no point in discussing the plot of "Empire," since the whole movie is all but divulged in the trailers, but it's not in my best interest to leave people in the dark. Victor Rosa (John Leguizamo, also providing voice-over narration) is a South Bronx drug dealer who wants to get out of the business and lead a normal life with his pregnant girlfriend (Delilah Cotto), who is expecting their first child. Victor believes Wall Street investment banker Jack Wimmer (Peter Sarsgaard) is his lifeline to quick and legal financial freedom. It's not long before his alliance with Wimmer begins to alienate relationships with his friends and partners, which in turn yields serious consequences. This solid storyline is lost in the abyss of director Franc. Reyes' world of near-pitch black sets, endless gunplay, flat dialogue that's composed mainly of colorful metaphors, and rappers playing trigger-happy drug dealers (in this case, Treach and Fat Joe; at least they're a major improvement over stiffs like Ja Rule and DMX). The third act collapses under the weight of its predictability; a field guide and binoculars won't be needed to spot twists that can be seen from a country mile away. Denise Richards pops up in the egregious role of Wimmer's sexpot girlfriend, but don't let that deter you from seeing an otherwise fairly entertaining movie. It's difficult to argue, though, that Leguizamo's talents were better put to use in "Ice Age." 7/10
- Aug 1, 2003
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