Based on a true story.


Dito Montiel‘s Empire State is another movie that is based on a true story of the largest cash heist in U. S. History early 1980s in New York. “State” features a star-studded cast, specifically, Dwayane Johnson, so I was eager to check this one out. It starts off excitingly well then cramps up right in the middle where a film is suppose to be getting good. Supposedly, movies based on “true stories” provides the much needed fodder to make a really good story, great. However, pair a good story with wearing “Hollywood goggles” and result to watching a hyper stressed, overworked crime drama where the story is “everywhere,” and annoying to follow. There isn’t much to see here except Dwayne Johnson. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough opportunities to see the “ROCK” in this movie.


Chris Potamitis (Hemsworth) is the son of Greek immigrants living in New York City. Surrounded by crime and poverty, he dreams of becoming an upstanding citizen. When this didn’t work out he finds a job working as a security guard for the Empire State Armored Truck Company. While working there, he became amazed by the lack of security and concern for the business. He began stealing money from the company’s storage room. He told his friend Eddie (Michael Angarano) about how easy it was to steal money from his job. Eddie contrives one of the largest heists in US history. However, a meddling buzz kill of a detective, James Ransone (Johnson) put a stop to their thieving ways.

The dialogue exchanges are haphazardly played out, and this is immediately shown by Angarano’s “Eddie” character. “Eddie” made for much of the annoying verbal exchanges in the film and perhaps the main reason the film didn’t go over well. There were other films I enjoyed watching Angarano’s quirky character roles like his unbalanced and unrequited character motives in Ceremony (2010) with that character being my favorite. Hemsworth’s wooden appearance on screen does nothing to enhance his role as the films’ main protagonist.  Dwayne Johnson is without a doubt the best actor in the film–he is extremely charismatic, and it was unfortunate that he is of limited use in the film. Emma Roberts is also in the movie, and it seems that again she makes an unimpressive, nonmemorable appearance as a waitress. If she isn’t careful, she will start landing the same nonmemorable acting roles like her father.

Yes. I went there. 

As a crime drama, Empire State amounts to just disappointing entertainment. However, do watch the film if you are fans of Dwayne Johnson. The “ROCK” always looks good onscreen.


Empire State presents in an extremely high-quality DVD 16×9 widescreen (2.40:1) presentation. Quality 5.1 Dolby Digital audio sound with subtitles in English and Spanish. The single disc DVD has a host of special features: ausio commentary with the director and deleted scenes that should have been left in the film to allow more for the character development the film desperately needed. “Creating an Empire: Behind-the-scenes with Interviews of the cast and crew,” Anatomy of a Heist: Interview with the real Chris Potamitis “the mastermind” are interesting to watch featurettes. Total feature running time 94 minutes. 

Art and supplementary material courtesy ©2013 of Lionsgate Home Entertainment. All rights reserved.

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 2 stars
  • Poor

  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2013-09-09

Review Summary:

A drama centered on two childhood friends who plan to rob an armored car depository, and the NYPD officer who stands in their way.

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