A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Trying to protect your loved ones. Learning from your mistakes. Some characters turn to crime to try and improve their lives, others do it purely for profit.
Positive Role Models
Chris Potamitis is devoted to his family and wants to protect others, but makes some questionable choices. Eddie makes disparaging remarks about Italians and Greeks, and racially charged insults about people's foreign accents. Detective James Ransome is a devoted cop who wants justice to prevail.
Predominantly male cast, with some ethnic diversity. More than one language spoken. Derogatory comments are made about Italians and Greeks, and accents are mocked.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters carry rifles and guns at crime scene. Punches and kicks thrown in scuffle. Armed robberies. Explosions and gun fights. Characters shot and killed. Bloody injuries but no gore. Animal shot and killed off-screen. Character knocked unconscious with gun butt. Threats of physical violence. Characters bruised and bandaged after violent altercations. One injured character also walks on crutches.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character makes suggestive comments to others. Reference to intercourse.
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Language used includes "f---ing," "motherf----r," "f--k," "a--hole," "douche," "hell," "s--t," "p---y," "bitch," "d--k," and "piss." Woman described as a "tramp." Character flips off his boss. The ableist term "retarded" is used. Racially-charged language.
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Products & Purchases
Plot revolves around multi-million dollar robbery. Large amounts of money shown and discussed as part of character's work. Gangsters are shown living wealthy and lavish lifestyles.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character smokes cigarettes. Reference to being arrested and charged for cannabis possession. One smokes a joint. Characters order expensive drinks and cigarettes in a night club. Reference to taking cocaine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Empire State is a crime drama based on a true story -- with frequent strong language and intermittent violence. The movie centers around young security guard Chris Potamitis (Liam Hemsworth), who tries his best to maintain order while several attempts are made to rob his company's poorly guarded headquarters. Despite having good intentions, Chris is led into morally compromised situations. Violent scenes include various attempts to steal from Chris' employers -- some of which are foiled by Dwayne Johnson's Detective James Ransome. Characters are shot and killed, punched and kicked, and there are a number of explosions. Characters are shown living lavish and criminal lifestyles, drinking and smoking, with references to drugs -- both taking and selling. There is frequent strong language, with many uses of "f--k" and its variants, as well as "p---y," "bitch," and ableist language such as "retarded." There is some ethnic diversity, but the cast is predominantly male. More than one language is spoken on occasion, but Chris' best friend Eddie (Michael Angarano) makes flippant remarks that stereotype both Italians and Greeks. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.