(John Leguizamo, Peter Sarsgaard / R / 90 mins / Universal)
Overview:New York gangster and drug dealer Victor Rosa (John Leguizamo) wants to clean up his act and escape his life of crime. But his plan to live a good honest life with his girlfriend (Deliah Cotto) and retire early is dashed when he meets a wily Wall Street banker (Peter Sarsgaard), who lets him in on a hot investment opportunity and then vanishes with Victor's money. His empire gone, Victor vows to hunt down his betrayer.
Verdict:To be quite frank, 'Empire' works as a shoot-em-up flick, but doesn't quite reach the next level. Which is a greta shame as I was hoping for a lot more from this well put together band of misfits. The tale has been told and retold; the races and rackets change, but the song remains the same, and sure it's perhaps too clumsy and vulgar a melodrama to be viewed as a calculated piece of racism, but its obtuse unawareness doesn't excuse it in the slightest. In complete truth, it never rises above stereotypes that 'Public Enemy' introduced and Brian De Palma's operatic 'Scarface' overdosed on and therefore will rob you of something more precious than drugs: your time !
Reviewed by Russell A. Trunk