Murda Takes Action : Empire State (2013)

Let me explain how I came to watch and review Empire State. Recently, Cait and I were discussing what movie to review next when she pointed out an action movie just added to Starz which featured Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He happens to be well loved in our house. When we describe him we bandy about such terms as “god-like” or “the perfect human."

Who doesn’t want to be warmly embraced in those big bear arms? Tell me, WHO? The next film we lined up for our Mothership Podcast is The Fate of the Furious. Of course, it seemed apropos to visit another film starring Dwayne Johnson. So we queued up the trailer, saw the mediocre Rotten Tomatoes’ reviews, and were sold. Here are some other things you might think after you watch the Empire State film trailer:

  1. It is based on a true story.

  2. Takes place in present day.

  3. It is a classic New York mob tale.

  4. There is a high body count and plenty of gun fights.

  5. It stars Dwayne Johnson, Liam Hemsworth, and Emma Roberts.

I mean, just look at this poster. You can make most of those assumptions based on it!

And these are the items that you would be correct about:

  1. It is based on a true story

  2. It stars Dwayne Johnson and Liam Hemsworth

To be honest, I am still not COMPLETELY sure what happened in this film, but I am going to do my best to break it down for you. Here goes nothing…

Empire State is the story of what was the largest cash robbery in US history at the time, the 1982 Sentry armored-car vault robbery in the Bronx. The screenplay was written by Adam Mazer, notably the last film he wrote in his two film career.  It was directed by Dito Montiel, who has directed films you've never heard of. Liam Hemsworth stars as Chris Potamitis, a Greek-American from Queens hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a cop with the NYPD. Well, that ain’t gonna happen thanks to some minor misdemeanor charges in Chris’ past.

Pop quiz: What do people who can’t become cops do? Become security guards.

Chris is hired by Empire State Armored Truck Company, and is involved in a robbery on his first day that leaves his partner dead. This is where Detective James Ransone, Dwayne Johnson, comes in who immediately suspects Chris of being involved, and basically thinks he’s to blame for every shady thing that happens for the rest of the movie. The truth is Chris is a goddamn idiot, and I am not sure if Liam Hemsworth’s performance is a stroke of genius or if he is that dead in the eyes. It truly is hard to tell, but my gut tells me it’s the later. Chris tells his mobster friends about the lax security at the Empire State vault. This one act makes me believe that stupidity definitely deserves jail time. That must have been it, The Rock smelled the stupid.

Here are some of my final thoughts on the film. We found this film under the “Action” genre on Starz, as a “Crime, Thriller,” on IMDb, but it should be labeled as “Family Drama.” I think Dwayne Johnson must have a private wardrobe department on all film sets, because his movie uniform seems to be jeans, undershirt, and a loose fitting unbuttoned button down to show off them muscles. Liam Hemsworth does not look like a Greek-American, and should not have been casted for this role, and should not be casted for anything ever again. Was Emma Roberts even in this movie? Honestly, if you blink you would miss her.

Murda’s Take: $400 out of $8,000,000. Save your time, money, and brain cells.

There Will Be Drinking