Parents' Guide to

Empire State

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Fact-based crime drama has strong language, violence.

Movie R 2013 94 minutes
Empire State movie poster

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Inspired by what was at the time the biggest money heist in U.S. history, this crime drama is an unfussy tale that stays grounded in its true events. However, after an intriguing setup -- and a rare case of Dwayne Johnson being cast in a secondary role -- Empire State's action both slows and becomes repetitive. The petty and deadly squabbling between the many criminal characters muddles the movie's second half in particular.

Hemsworth does a solid job as Chris, the straight man whose direction of travel is gradually dragged off course by a mix of people in need and the wrong kind of friends looking to get rich quick. But there are no standout scenes or exchanges, despite the combustible subject matter. Johnson in particular is subdued and sidelined by the material, while Emma Roberts' bit part is bizarrely elevated to featuring her on the movie's poster. The events that play out hold the attention, but much like the money at the center of the story, there's a feeling that the main prize to be had here has gone missing.

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