If you want to pull off the perfect heist, then working for the company you’re stealing from is probably a good way to start. In Dito Montiel’s new crime thriller Empire State, Liam Hemsworth plays a young New Yorker who fails to get accepted by the NYPD and subsequently decides to go to the other extreme, taking up a job as a security guard with the Empire State armored truck company and using his position and knowledge of the company’s lax security to pull off a $9 million robbery.
Attempting to track down the money is Dwayne Johnson, who plays a suspicious cop trying to find the evidence needed to send Hemsworth’s character to jail. Emma Roberts (It’s Kind of a Funny Story) and Michael Angarano (Sky High) co-star, and the whole thing is based on a massive real-life heist that was pulled off in the 1980s. The first trailer for Empire State has just been revealed by production company Grindstone Pictures, ahead of the film’s release this fall.
Since Johnson and Hemsworth are adversaries in the film, its level of engagement will probably rest on how much on-screen chemistry the two actors have. This is something that’s worth keeping an eye on, since the two are set to reunite for Chuck Russell’s 3D adventure Arabian Nights, in which Hemsworth will play Ali Baba (just go with it) and Johnson will play Sinbad.
Director Montiel has so far yet to repeat the success of his autobiographical feature debut, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, but for a direct-to-DVD release Empire State actually looks pretty good. Hemsworth is a competent (if somewhat bland) actor who has recently garnered attention for his role as rebel and love interest Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games, and his screen time is likely to be stepped up quite a bit for the sequel, Catching Fire, which should bring some extra attention to Empire State. Johnson is already a proven entity, with both G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Fast & Furious 6 dominating the box office this year (though his first 2013 release, Snitch, didn’t perform quite as well).
The trailer features some action scenes and shoot-outs that look quite intense, and also gives the impression that the film will tackle the moral ambiguity of the heist. One clip shows Hemsworth’s character giving an envelope full of (presumably stolen) money to the widow of a colleague who died in the line of duty, suggesting that there will be a Robin Hood aspect to his motivations.
Does Empire State look like something you’ll pick up when it hits stores later this year, or would you have preferred to see it on the big screen?
Empire State is available on DVD and Blu-ray from September 3, 2013.