Empire (2002 film)
|Directed by||Franc. Reyes|
|Written by||Franc. Reyes|
|Produced by||Daniel Bigel|
|Music by||Rubén Blades|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Victor "Vic" Rosa (Leguizamo) is a drug dealer in New York City who sells a specific brand of heroin called "Empire". His territory is located in the South Bronx, where he and his other rivals, Hector ("Exorcist"), Tito ("Severe"), and Negro ("Dancing Queen") all maintain an uneasy truce because they all purchase their drugs from the same supplier, drug lord Joanna "La Colombiana" Menendez (Isabella Rossellini).
Victor's girlfriend Carmen (Delilah Cotto) invites him to a chic white collar party being thrown by her friend Trish (Denise Richards) and her boyfriend Jack Wimmer (Sarsgaard), an investment banker. He then asks for and is given permission by La Colombiana's younger brother Rafael to assassinate local kingpin Tito (Fat Joe). A shootout occurs, which results in Tito and his young son being killed. With a baby on the way, Vic decides to go straight, and begins to invest money with Jack, receiving significant returns. His friendship with Jack affords Vic a whole new lifestyle, and creates a rift between him and Carmen.
Jack offers Vic an investment opportunity for over 300% return, but there's a catch: the minimum buy-in is $4.5 million, $1.5 million more than Vic has. He approaches La Colombiana with an offer, in which she agrees to lend Vic the money he needs, if he gives her a 500% return and stops a feud between his best friend Jimmy (Vincent Laresca) and rival dealer Hector.
Despite Vic's best efforts, the feud escalates and Jimmy kills Hector. La Colombiana orders Vic to kill Jimmy, but instead Vic tells Jimmy to leave town instead. Vic receives his money and gives it to Jack, who disappears the next day. Victor tracks him down and attempts to reclaim his money, but kills Jack and Trish when they resist. 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 is preparing to head to the hospital to see the birth of his child when Rafael arrives and shoots him in the head. The movie ends with Vic lying dead.
- John Leguizamo as Victor "Vic" Rosa
- Peter Sarsgaard as Jack Wimmer
- Denise Richards as Trish
- Vincent Laresca as Jimmy
- Isabella Rossellini as Joanna "La Colombiana" Menendez
- Sonia Braga as Iris
- Delilah Cotto as Carmen
- Nestor Serrano as Rafael Menendez
- Treach as Chedda
- Rafael Baez as Jay ("the idiot savant")
- Fat Joe as Tito
- Carlos Leon as Hector
- Granville Adams as Det. Jones
- Sam Coppola as Robert Gold
Empire received negative reviews. It carries a score of 21% on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 101 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "In terms of the gangster genre, Empire's story is yet another tired retread."
- "'Empire' crumbles under weight of its own cliches". Daily News of Los Angeles. Los Angeles Newspaper Group (MediaNews Group). December 6, 2002. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- "Box office information for Empire". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- 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.
- "Empire". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 10, 2021.