Set in the slums of the South Bronx, one of many New York neighborhoods most Caucasians steer clear from, Empire is an uninspired gangster movie that plays like a modern-day retelling of superior crime films such as Scarface and Carlito’s Way. The problem is Empire, lacks the craft and intelligence of both De Palma movies. First time writer-director Franc Reyes seems more intent on illustrating the daily violence in a drug-lord’s life than tending to his plot’s rationality. And while the filmmaker succeeds in depicting the grittiness of the South Bronx, when it comes to sensible storylines, his debut film suffers.
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