Empire There's heavy-handed, there's lead-handed, and then there's "Empire." The urban gangster flick earns kudos for an innovative conceit: Street hustler Leguizamo teams with Wall Street… Empire There's heavy-handed, there's lead-handed, and then there's "Empire." The urban gangster flick earns kudos for an innovative conceit: Street hustler Leguizamo teams with Wall Street…
Video Review

EMPIRE (2003)

MPAA Rating: R
EW's GRADE
C

Details Release Date: Mar 18, 2003; Movie Rated: R; Genres: Drama, Mystery and Thriller; With: John Leguizamo, Isabella Rossellini and Peter Sarsgaard; Distributor: Universal

There's heavy-handed, there's lead-handed, and then there's ''Empire.'' The urban gangster flick earns kudos for an innovative conceit: Street hustler Leguizamo teams with Wall Street slickster Sarsgaard to achieve a common goal -- massive wealth. The parallels between their lives and mentalities would be intriguing if Leguizamo's clunky voice-overs didn't spell out an anticapitalist message with such a thick marker. The film quickly dissolves into a collection of rote stereotypes and cliches. Oh, and why is a movie starring Fat Joe and Naughty by Nature's Treach filled with so much cheesy Latin R&B?

Originally posted Mar 21, 2003 Published in issue #701 Mar 21, 2003 Order article reprints
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