Empire (2002 film)

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Empire
Empire ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Franc. Reyes
Produced by Daniel Bigel
Michael Mailer
Written by Franc. Reyes
Starring John Leguizamo
Peter Sarsgaard
Denise Richards
Sonia Braga
Isabella Rossellini
Fat Joe
Treach
Production
  company
Arenas Entertainment[1]
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • December 6, 2002 (2002-12-06)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4 million[2]
Box office $18,591,272

Empire is a 2002 gangster film starring John Leguizamo and Peter Sarsgaard.

Plot[edit]

Victor Rosa (Leguizamo) is a drug dealer in New York who sells a specific brand of heroin called "Empire". His area, or "turf", is located in the South Bronx, where his other rivals all maintain an uneasy truce. They generally respect each other's borders and sanctity. All of this is maintained because it just so happens that they all purchase their drugs from the same supplier, the drug lord La Colombiana. Victor is invited to a chic white collar party by his girlfriend Carmen (Cotto). The party is being thrown by her friend Trish's (Richards) boyfriend Jack (Sarsgaard), an investment banker. Vic befriends Jack as he looks up to him and his lifestyle. With a baby on the way Vic decides he wants to go straight, an opportunity Jack provides. Vic begins to invest money with Jack, receiving significant returns (200%). As Vic draws closer to Jack, he finds himself drifting away from what he once was, his former friends and family. He even moves into a fabulous loft in Soho, courtesy of Jack. Meanwhile Carmen and his friends all criticize him for acting like something he is not, and forgetting where he came from, and them.

The climax arises when Jack offers Vic an investment opportunity for over 300% return, there's only one catch, the minimum buy-in is $4.5 million. Vic is $1.5 million short. He approaches La Colombiana with an offer, in which she agrees to lend Vic the money he needs but she wants 500% return and for him to stop a feud between his best friend Jimmy who now runs his drug business, and a rival dealer. However, the feud escalates and Jimmy kills the rival. He was supposed to be killed by La Colombiana, but Vic suggests to him that he should leave town without her knowing. Vic receives his money and gives it to Jack. It turns out that Jack is a con artist and disappears the next day. Victor is lost but manages to track Jack down via a phone number he had called from earlier in Miami. Victor tries to get his money back, but kills Jack and Trish when they don't tell him and get hostile. He escapes with Carmen and her family to Puerto Rico and opens a bar on the south side of the island with what little money he has left. At the end of the movie, Vic receives a phone call, his son is being born at the hospital. Just when he is getting in his car to go to the hospital, he is shot dead; La Colombiana had caught up with him for not fulfilling his end of their agreement.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Empire was the first release from Arenas Entertainment, a branch of Universal Studios specializing in productions for Hispanic audiences.[1][3]

Release[edit]

Universal picked up the film for US$650,000,[3] and released it on December 6, 2002 in 867 theaters.[2]

Reception[edit]

Empire received negative reviews, and carries a score of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 99 reviews.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Empire' crumbles under weight of its own cliches" (Registration required to read article). Daily News of Los Angeles (Los Angeles Newspaper Group (MediaNews Group)). December 6, 2002. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Box office information for Empire". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Munoz, Lorenza (January 3, 2003). "Movies; Little pictures have a big year; Playing against type, 'Monsoon Wedding' and other niche films were very profitable for Hollywood in 2002.". Los Angeles Times. p. E.1 (Calendar). Retrieved June 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Reviews for Empire". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 

External links[edit]