Monday, December 23, 2013

Film Review: Empire State (2013)

Empire State (Review)
United States/2013
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a barely decent crime drama/thriller."

Chris Potamitis (Liam Hemsworth) becomes a security guard for an armored truck company, Empire State, after being rejected by the police academy. After his father is fired, tired of being robbed, and under the influence of a friend, Eddie (Michael Angarano), Chris Potamitis decides to rob Empire State...

Empire State continues as Chris informs Eddie of Empire State's poor security: the money they store is rarely counted; the cameras, gates, and locks are easily passable; and, Chris is the only security guard after 8 PM. In fact, Chris is able to steal $25,000 with ease. Unfortunately, Eddie has a big mouth that drags Chris into a larger plot with mobsters and drug dealers. On top of that, James Ransone (Dwayne Johnson), a NYPD detective, is hot on their trail. The ending of the film comes quickly, and it's disappointing -- it lacks impact.

Empire State tells a basic story with little flare or style. The film takes place in the 80s, but the time period plays a weak role in the film. Although Chris is the main characters, Eddie moves the story forward with his stupid actions and his big mouth. The action sequences are decent -- they add a little life to the film. There are some tense scenes, as well, but they are outnumbered by bland scenes. James Ransone adds life to the film with some character and wit, but the rest of the characters are cardboard cutouts. This wouldn't be a problem if the film offered action or suspense, but it's a film based on real events -- there has to be some character!

Liam Hemsworth and Michael Angarano are decent -- I couldn't identify their mediocre accents, though, they seemed sloppy. Hemsworth really doesn't have the screen presence or charisma to be a leading man, either. Dwayne Johnson, on the other hand, has great charisma and delivery with his performance, despite being underutilized; regardless, he's not at his best either. The rest of the film is technically made well, but it's not exceptional. The music, the cinematography, the storytelling... it never tries to be better than good enough. This is one of those films that technically suffers from a lack of ambition.

Overall, Empire State is a barely decent crime drama/thriller. It doesn't offer much drama or many thrills, and it isn't very informative on these actual events, but it is entertaining and briskly paced. A solid way to kill a night, if you have nothing better to watch.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment