DVD Review – Empire State (2013)

empire-state-dwayne-johnson

Empire State what can I say…I’m biased. Did I like the movie on a whole? Yes. Did I like the acting? Yes. Do I have a thing for Liam Hemsworth? This is where the bias comes in. I honestly think that I would like any movie that this man is in purely for that reason. I like to repeat constantly that I can remember the good old days when I watched him on my television whilst eating dinner, watching neighbours. Completely oblivious to the star that he would one day become.

I have always been attracted to the films that tell me that they were based on true events. I don’t know why this is as, if I’m asked what my favourite thing about movies is I answer,every time, that they take me to a place that otherwise, I would not have the opportunity to experience. Empire State captured my attention straight away. It is loosely based on real life events. Hemsworth portrays Chris Potamitis, a lowly born and raised Bronx boy. In the early 1980s it is his dream to join the police force. However, due to certain circumstances,he finds himself working full time as a security guard for an armored truck company. It is through this opportunity, that he along with his childhood friend Eddie (portrayed by Michael Angarano) decide to rob the facility where Chris is currently baby sitting millions of dollars. Viewing the movie, one gets the idea that Eddie is the instigator. Chris appears to be the character with the conscience. I get the feeling that this has been done before.The reasoning behind Potamitis plotting to steal the money, is rooted on a completely unselfish foundation. Eddie on the other hand wants the money for the sake of having the money. This is always the way in so many films, whereby, we never actually have an ‘evil’
protagonist. There is always something to good about them. Hemsworth’s character is the same.

What makes or breaks a film in the eyes of many, is the acting. Hemsworth is good. Its not his best picture, I have to say, but he is taking the ‘leading man’ stance which he hasn’t really done in the past. For one, he most certainly does the accent justice! Trust me, I spend hours daily trying to speak in an American accent and its hard! Angarano is amazing. I can remember watching him in Sky High as a child and seeing the transformation to a much darker character with greed as his number one goal, made for a very interesting watch.

Whilst I have praise for this film, there are areas in which I feel could have been improved upon. For one, I find the box misleading. Yes, Dwayne Johnson does play the nosy detective Ransome who has it in for our protagonist from the word action, and he does it well enough. However, Emma Roberts name is also on the box. Roberts portrays Nancy, the waitress but I do not believe that her character was developed upon enough to deserve to be on the cover. Whilst Roberts portrayed her minor role sufficiently,captured the typical gangster accent. Her character was not developed upon nearly enough and there is little chemistry between herself and Chris which the audience is most definitely mislead to believe.

This leads to the notion that the film is a romantic movie, which it is not. This takes away from the other important themes that are displayed throughout the movie. There is a very strong element relating to the family bond, theres the element of friendship and the loyalty that comes with said friendship. Theres the inner battle of deciding what is right and what is wrong and how to deal with being knocked down. I feel that these issues and ideas should have been further developed. I mean, we don’t always need to have romance,this film has a lot more to offer, but I don’t think enough emphasis was focused on these factors. A common misconception with films that come straight out on home viewing platforms and surpass the cinema is that they are not worth your time.

[rating=4]

Rebecca Dempster

Genre:
Crime, Drama
Distributor:
Lionsgate Films
DVD/BD Release Date:
17th March 2014 (UK)
Rating: 15
Director:
Dito Montiel
Cast:
Liam Hemsworth, Michael Angarano, Dwayne Johnson, Emma Roberts, Nikki Reed
Buy: Empire State [DVD] / Empire State [Blu-ray + UV copy]