Over the last couple of years Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock has become one of the go to stars for action. On the flip side Liam Hemsworth who had some breakout roles in Expendables 2 and The Hunger Games seems to be getting his push now to leading man. Now, the two have come together for a straight video film called Empire State co-starring Jerry Ferrara, Michael Angarano, and Emma Roberts. This marks the first straight to video release for Johnson since his dominance at the box office began, so does he manage to bring his normal charisma to the role or is this something different?
Empire State follows a security guard with an Armored Truck Company who fails to get into the police academy, but wants more. When he makes the mistake of mentioning the lax security to his best friend he is drawn into an elaborate scheme to rob the insane amount of cash they store at their warehouse. But as they get deeper into the crime, they must also outwit a veteran detective determined to solve the crime and the mob bosses that want a piece of the action. Before getting into this review you have to understand that this film is not a Johnson film, but instead a Hemsworth film. He does a fine job with what he is working with, but it’s nothing all that special. The story is pretty main stream with nothing that we haven’t seen before but works fine. Johnson is actually not in the film all that much, but still brings his normal charisma to this smaller role. He doesn’t have the chance to step this film up to a really great crime thriller like it probably could have been, but does fine with what he has to work with. Emma Roberts it barely in the film and almost a wasted role as she serves little to no purpose. This isn’t an action packed film, but does have a couple of decent shootouts, but the true focus is more on the greed of all the characters.
There isn’t a whole lot here that is really great or bad either, but more in the middle as just an average film. It’s a decent rental and Hemsworth does a fine job, but I think most disappointment will come from those expecting another Johnson actioner. If you are a fan it’s always worth checking out Johnson despite his smaller role and if you like these crime thrillers then you could do a lot worse. In addition to the film, this Blu-ray also includes commentary, deleted scenes, interviews and the featurette “Anatomy of a Heist: The Mastermind Behind the Robbery” featurette.