One thing you’ve got to say for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is that his acting career is just really cranking out the action movies. One of his latest, “Empire State”–a copy of which our friends out at Lionsgate sent over for us to review–looks to keep the streak alive. But will this one be another bang-up action run for the people’s champ? Or will this one falter on the wider stage?
“Empire State” actually has less to do with The Rock and more to do with Liam Hemsworth, who plays Chris. Chris would have been training to be a police officer, but a run-in at a concert one night put the kibosh on those hopes. So, with little else on his plate and his dad laid off, he takes a job as a security guard with the Empire State Armored Truck Company. It quickly becomes clear, however, that aside from him and those like him, that security for the armored car is an afterthought at best. But when he mentions this to a buddy of his, it puts a few ideas into said buddy’s head, like how to take down an armored car. That kicks off a series of events that look to get Chris a shot at a bigger score than he ever thought possible…or ever really wanted.
It’s actually pretty interesting to see the opening on this one, which uses actual footage from earlier armored car heists to kick things off. And when things start getting bad for Chris, it becomes clear just what kind of motivation he’s under. It’s actually very much a tale for today, even though it’s kind of a call-back to the seventies. Aside from these interesting features, it’s a little on the standard side.
Aside from the moments that are quite clearly shots at the comedy of errors market, the rest of it is a fairly normal action thriller. Thus, neither the thrills nor the action are quite pronounced, as they’re somewhat familiar. Still, though, it’s quite worth watching, even if it’s nothing spectacular, it’s still a solid entrant in a crowded field.
Special features include a set of audio options for those with different levels of audio capability, your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, a director’s commentary track, a set of deleted scenes, a set of cast and crew interviews, a making-of featurette, and trailers for “Empire State,” “Snitch,” “Freelancers,” “Fire with Fire,” and a preview for Epix.
It’s another capable entry into Dwayne Johnson’s action career, backed up by sound performances from Hemsworth et al. “Empire State” does the job in a fashion best described as competent if not outstanding.