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Empire

Starring: John Leguizamo, Peter Sarsgaard, Denise Richards and Delilah Cotto
Directed by: Frank Reyes
Rated: R

 

Empire comes so close to accomplishing a gritty urban tale…but then it decides to borrow from about eight different film sources on making a gangsta film and ultimately is far from spectacular spectacular. Snore.

Freak-boy and mega diversified talent John Leguizamo along with my own "it" boy Peter Sarsgaard do admirable jobs in the stereotypical roles of Puerto Rican hood vs. white ivy leaguer. But Empire just loses steam like a corrupt espresso machine during the morning rush. It starts off ripping through the celluloid glow and sadly loses its mojo about two thirds through till it screeches to a chitty chitty bang bang halt!

Story goes Victor Rosa (John Leguizamo) is a businessman. He's young, rich, and handsome Latin male…he runs a big chunk of the heroin empire in the Bronx area of New York. There are rules and he and his crew adhere to the street ways to the tee.

He's in love with a girl Carmen (Delilah Cotto) from the hood that's bettering her life by attending college. He'd love to change his life...

The two are invited to a college gal's boyfriend's house for a party.Victor meets Jack (Peter Sarsgaard). Jack's a milk-white investment banker that apparently likes Vic and his gal. He lets Vic in on some big money investments and works his magic. Vic's maybe gonna get that chance he's always wanted. Maybe he and Carmen can get away from the wrong side of the tracks.

Vic's excited, living large. He is finally getting out of the crime-life or is he?

See the story is sweet (yes sweet). A guy with a brilliant mind for business is unfortunately born into the wrong part of town and isn't given the opportunities a suburban kid would get to flourish with this talent. Vic does all he knows…. traffic drugs. He's good but he wants more, and less of the killing an' stuff s'all. The problem is the story takes some wild yet typical turns. Vic makes a huge amount of money and yet it's still not enough. I don't know about you but somebody gives me two million and I am set for life. Plot movement...

So we watch as he pathetically starts to unravel and - of course as the film's own previews show thusly ruining any suspense - Yale boy, Jack, rips him off.

I respect John Leguizamo. Is there anything this guy cant do? He's got what, thirty forty voices? Have you seen Freak or Sexoholic? He' s a kinetic little slice of mansteak. But, as strong as his character Vic started out he fell into oh-so-been-there pate and we were left begging for the credits to role. There was nothing new in this guy…it was too gangsta film hodge podge.

Peter Sarsgaard is my new it boy. Kiddies we found Russell, Jeremy, Bennie and Clive no? I've been tootin' my horn for a couple of years. Now he seems to be getting the "big" roles, but these roles are completely wasting him (the disappearing underrated Salton Sea aside). Do not get me started on the colossal piece of studio kucka K19 . I'm still angered at the waste of fresh mankebab in that one…Peter's ahhhhdorable. Layers of delectable delicacies creshendo-ing into sticky sweet man goulash. A note to his agent…USE this guy right would ya? His character was so cellophane thin I had to look away in shame…

The gals in the film, Carmen played by Delilah Cotto and Jack's fashion hound pal Trish played by Denise Richards are really backdrop. Delilah tried desparately to ad some well needed drama into her role but the scenes just wouldn't let her. They were tapioca thick with telegraphed emotions. Denise played a character; no more, no less. The best part of the film is her demise - I mean the place roared she was finally quieted. These two actors can and will do better. Here they are added to fill in some dialog holes and give Vic a heart. They come of as 2D paper doll type women. El Garbagio.

If you're into Johnnie - see this. He's in every single scene… Peter is wasted like 19.00 a pound Italian salted ham from Balducci's you forgot was in the fridge! Yech.

Snack recommendation: Empanadas and diet cokes.

 

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