Synopsis by Mark Deming
A man who has made good in an illegal business discovers going straight is a more complicated matter than he imagined in this urban drama. Victor Rosa (John Leguizamo) is a drug dealer who has made a small fortune selling a heroin-based drug cocktail he's concocted called "Empire." Victor doesn't see himself as a dope pusher; instead, he considers himself an entrepreneur and a businessman who is simply making the most of the economic opportunities presented to him in the ghetto. Through his girlfriend Carmen (Delilah Cotto), Victor makes the acquaintance of Jack Wimmer (Peter Sarsgaard), an upscale investment banker who admires Victor's business savvy and street smarts. Victor is interested in getting out of drug dealing and into a legitimate business, and when Jack offers Victor the chance to buy into a new business, Victor eagerly accepts and makes a good profit in the deal. After this, Victor is all the more enthusiastic when Jack gives him the opportunity to invest in a much bigger project; the price, however, is more than Victor can afford, and he has to borrow from another high-stakes drug dealer, La Columbiana (Isabella Rossellini) in order to make the nut. It isn't long before Victor learns La Columbiana is not a good person to be in debt to -- and that Jack may not be all he imagined him to be. Empire marked the directorial debut of dancer and choreographer Franc Reyes; the supporting cast includes Denise Richards, Sonia Braga, Ruben Blades, and rapper Fat Joe.
double-cross, drug-dealer, gangster, ghetto, Latino/Latina, underworld, yuppies