Entertainment Weekly - 12/13/2002
"...Compelling....Leguizamo owns EMPIRE, the first film to capture the live-wire crackle of his one-man stage shows....He holds the screen with a simmering self-assurance..."
Los Angeles Times - 12/06/2002
"...Engrossing and utterly uncompromising....[Leguizamo] gives one of the best performances of the year..."
Total Film - 12/01/2003
"...Centered by an on-form Leguizamo..."
EMPIRE, the debut film from director-writer Frank Reyes is a Latin GOODFELLAS, chronicling the rise and fall of Victor Rosa (John Leguizamo), a Puerto Rican drug-dealer working the violent streets of the South Bronx. With an eye for money and a head for business, Victor dreams of one day achieving the wealth and success of a legitimate businessman. When Victor discovers that his girlfriend Carmen (Delilah Cruz) is pregnant, he jumps at the chance to give up the dangerous drug trade and joins forces with two new friends, Jack (Peter Sarsgaard)--a flashy Wall Street Investment banker, and his girlfriend Trish (Denise Richards). Jack offers Victor a new way of life and promises him access to "sure thing" investments. Eager to go legit, Victor quickly embraces Jack's standards of living. He gives up the streets of the Bronx for Jack's slick Soho loft and moves into the fast-talking, money-driven world of Wall Street. However, Carmen misses the warmth and familiarity of her roots in the South Bronx and Victor is torn between his own ambition and his desire to please her. Ultimately, he realizes too late that Jack and Trish are not all who they seem to be, and his best-laid plans begin to falter as he is forced to accept the magnitude of their betrayal.
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