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Empire State
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Chris Potamitis (Liam Hemsworth) is a young man living in NYC in the late 70's. He manages to get a job as a security guard which involves large amounts of money, little security, and over whelming temptation. He lives in a neighborhood of Greeks, along with his loud mouth, foul mouth friend Eddie (Michael Angarano). He is the classic idiot side kick who messes everything up.

Eddie has big dreams for the money that Chris guards and desires to be a big shot, even though no one can stand him. Dwayne Johnson plays the investigating officer and comes in about half way through. His name as well as Emma Roberts are over billed for their roles. The film is based on an actual robbery, and like real crime, it is more akin to "dumb crook news" than a master criminal.

The film makes for an entertaining action drama.

Parental Guidance: Plenty of F-bombs. No sex or nudity.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2013
Liam Hemsworth is simply not proving to be the "main event" attraction that film studios are hoping he'd be - at least nowhere the near the heavyweight caliber of his older A-list brother, Chris Hemsworth. The youngest of the Hemsworth brothers has only been in Hollywood for a few short years, but he is struggling to carry films on his own - and might just be overexposing himself. He's had notable roles in The Last Song (with his fiancée Miley Cyrus), The Hunger Games, and The Expendables 2. However, like his role in The Expendables 2, he has proved to be just that - expendable. Since his role in the Stallone-powered action flick, Hemsworth has trickled out two less than entertaining flicks, Love and Honor and Paranoia. Clearly, Liam Hemsworth is best utilized when he's surrounded by top-name actors, like Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Harrison Ford - but does the presence of Dwayne Johnson help his newest attempt at a lead actor in the straight-to-video film, Empire State?

Directed by Dito Montiel (The Son of No One), Empire State stars Liam Hemsworth as Chris Potamis, an armored car security guard that helps plot the biggest heist in United States history (when it originally occurred in 1982). Chris applies to be a police officer, but is rejected due to having a prior record, forcing him to seek employment with an armored car company. There, he discovers the company heads don't have an exact count on the millions of dollars in storage, and that they also leave it guarded by minimal security. Chris, and his friend Eddie (Michael Angarano), decide to make a play for the cash. At the same time, a detective, James Ransome (Dwayne Johnson) has been watching Chris, trying to figure out his intentions towards his place of employment. Emma Roberts, Jerry Ferrara, and Michael Rispoli also star in supporting roles.

Empire State loosely follows the events of the 1982 Sentry Armored Car Company robbery, and while the original premise of the story remains, there's definitely a great deal of flare added to this film. As far as the film goes, it features some interesting qualities and some bothersome qualities. First, Liam Hemsworth actually thrives in this role - even though the role calls for an Italian, which he is most certainly not. He tries to do his best Brooklyn accent, impersonating the real life security guard, Christos Potamitis. Unfortunately, this blond haired Australian is severely out of his element in this New York-based bank heist. Hemsworth portrays a likeable character, even though it's difficult to fully realize where the character's heart lies. One minute he's playing Robin Hood by stealing for a family in need and the next he's plotting to steal money for...well, it's never really explained why he's so desperate for money. Chris Potamitis is essentially a character without rhyme or reason - and that's mainly due to poor scripting, not Liam Hemsworth.

The starring roles in this film are extremely out of whack, with Dwayne Johnson - one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, playing second fiddle to Liam Hemsworth. The actor, known to the WWE Universe as the Rock, is at a point in his career when he should be second to no one. He's coming off a heavily hyped main event at Wrestlemania, not to mention a successful first half of 2013 - starring in Snitch, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Pain & Gain, and Fast & Furious 6. True, he shared starring roles in several of those films - but only because they included Mark Wahlberg and Vin Diesel. Regardless, Johnson should be the face and selling-point of every film he's in from here on out. Unfortunately, he is cast in a secondary role in this film, which only briefly allows him to show off his full potential as an actor. One thing is for sure - he absolutely dominates each and every one of his scenes, rising above the generic dialogue and making the best out of a role that he probably regrets taking in the first place.

For a film that has gone straight to video on-demand (VOD) and direct-to-video, it sure does showcase a more than capable and extremely talented cast. Emma Roberts is obviously one of the most recognizable names on the roster, but she's only present for a handful of scenes - many of which are pointless. She's a character that could have easily been written out and it's a crushing blow for her talent to also go by the wayside in this film. Most scenes - as far as the supporting cast goes - are "owned" by the charismatic and overly talkative Michael Angarano. His portrayal of Eddie, Chris' best friend, is completely buried by Empire States' lack of advertisement. And, while his role can be horribly annoying at times (which is the point), it's still an impressively acted part that will go largely unrecognized.

Overall, Empire State can be painfully stale at times - even though the cast is quite an enjoyable ensemble. It's usually a pleasant feature when a film incorporates the real-life newscasts - to help give an authentic, documentary-style feel to it. Sadly, there's very little authenticity present in this flick and that's just one of several deficiencies that held this feature from hitting the big screen. This company "heist" might have been a big deal at the time, but the crime almost seems tame compared to the films out there these days - you know, the ones with attractive villains skimming billions from corporations. Anyway, it's hard not to like this film (mostly due to the presence of Dwayne Johnson), yet it pales in comparison to the majority of every other bank heist film that's ever been made. Still, try to look past this film's shortcomings and give it a whirl. The film isn't up to the standard of most quality Hollywood releases - and as long as you realize that before viewing, you should find it to be at least as entertaining as a made-for-TV movie.

GRADE: C
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2014
First things first. Dwayne Johnson’s role in this crime thriller is not as big as the DVD jacket suggests. Ten minutes or maybe more. Also, Emma Roberts appears only in a few scenes and her part is little better than a cameo. I think it’s about five minutes.

Set in 1982 New York City, “Empire State” is a crime drama based on a true story about Chris Potamitis (Liam Hemsworth), a newly-employed security guard for an armored truck company. Chris gets involved with a cash heist when he unwisely tells his childhood friend Eddie (Michael Angarano) about the company’s ineffective security system.

Frankly, I don’t know why this story had to be made into a film. The heist itself is not very unique. The description of the Greek American community the hero’s family belongs to is perfunctory. “Empire State” struggles to be both a thriller and a drama, but either way the film fails to interest us, except several scenes that elicit the feel of run-down 1980s New York City.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2013
"Where is Chris and where is the money?" Chris (Hemsworth) failed to get into the police academy and ends up taking a job with an armored truck company. After telling his friend about the amount of money he is in charge of guarding his friend comes up with a plan to rob the place he works. Things don't go as smooth as planned and now they have to try and stay one step ahead of the local mob and detective James Ransone (Johnson) or wind up in jail or worse. Going in I was expecting a heist movie and I am usually a big fan of that genre. For a movie with a cast like this I was really expecting a lot more. I'm not talking about the acting because The Rock and Baby Thor aren't the best around but at least they make action movies entertaining. Thats's where the disappointment sets in. This is just about the least exciting heist movie I have seen. The only thing that really saves it and makes it worth watching is the fact that this is a true story. Hard core fans of The Rock will most likely like this more then me though but be warned that he is a secondary character and Hemsworth really carries the movie. Overall, don't go in expecting a full out action heist movie like I did or you too will be disappointed. I give it a B-.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This movie was based on actual happenings in Bronx, NY in 1982. An armored car company was robbed of supposedly close to $20 million and over half of it was never recovered.

If you are watching the movie to see Dwayne Johnson "The Rock," you will probably be disappointed since he is a secondary character in the movie. The main actors play the robbers - Liam Hemsworth and Michael Angarano.

They do a good job in the movie except I felt like strangling Angarano (he was that annoying).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
Saw this movie and in my opinion just wait untill it come out on cable. Not terrible, is like watching an old movie on TBS or AMC, I think the acting was good, no big action sequences because none really happen and is base on real events of a big rovery heist.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2013
It was ok I just love Dwayne Johnson but it was a good movie just didn't like how it all ended
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 21, 2013
Empire State is a movie based on a true story that is centered on two childhood friends who plan to rob an armored car depository, and the NYPD officer (Played by The Roc" who stands in their way.

After watching this, I hope that the real life story was more exciting than this movie. This movie seems to have an identity crisis and goes from drama to an almost comedy. The dialogue is curse word filled mostly with little else, miscast with annoying characters (particularly Eddie, who does a great job at being annoying), and the under-use of Dwayne Johnson. Johnson appears sparingly in this movie and even he can't really save the lack of excitement in this movie.

I am not sure how much Empire State is based on a true story but I hope it was more exciting than how it was presented with not much happening throughout the whole movie.

Empire State could have been a good story but falls apart in its lack of creating a believable story with believable characters.

Unfortunately this movie falls short and is worth skipping and not wasting your time on.
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on April 20, 2015
Let me set the scene for you: the Rock and his cop partner are time travelers from the year 2015. You can tell by the way they dress like they just walked out of a Planet Fitness on their way to a Chipotle. They go back in time to the early 80s or late 70s and meet up with a tall blonde Greek teenager who has the charisma of a red apple and a best friend who is the most annoying person on planet earth. Some things happen, a dog gets shot, a turtle gets shot in the cheek, a guy gets shot in the mouth - and then there are about seven characters who appear and then never show their face (or cheeks) ever again. There is a scene in the end where everyone is pointing guns and cussing at each other. And then the Rock, dressed like he just walked into a Coscto naked and walked out wearing the biggest mom jeans they had, saves the day. He must have had a clause in his contract that said "I will never dress in character, especially if it's supposed to be the 70s, except for the character that I am in real life, which is The Rock, a big man who wears even bigger cheap jeans." Loosely based upon a true story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2014
Not particularly suspenseful and certainly not memorable
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