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Living la vida coca

Staff Reports

As my business partner, mentor and Godfather, Vito Corleone, used to say, &quotDrugs is a dirty business.&quotThat’s why I only invest in prostitution, gambling and the occasional IPO.But not everyone is so prudent with savings. A lot of people like to take risks. They figure there’s a shortcut to the end of the rainbow.As we all know, it’s hard to get by without dough and plenty of it. Unfortunately, it’s tough to accumulate cash flow working 9 to 5.Dreams of modest wealth and early retirement were attainable in the 1990s. Back then stocks were hotter than Shakira’s thong moistened with picante sauce. In those high salad days, the average day trader enjoyed a magnum of champagne and a coke-whore chaser with every meal.But now times are tough. And if you’re not in Homeland Security, American flags or F-16s, there’s a bread line in your future.So what’s a hard-working young man gonna do to make good for his family these days? If he’s smart, he’ll break some laws and whack a few rivals.He’s entitled.This age-old dream of ill-gotten gain is at the core of Empire, a low-level drug drama that chronicles the rise and fall of a Bronx street thug. Dwarfish actor John Leguizamo plays Victor Rosa, a heroin hustler who makes it big dealing smack for the Colombians.Unlike the other white horse traders of his day, Victor does not step on his product. Instead, he deals high quality jag to the masses. Victor is a man of principles, who never skims off the top and treats his Colombian overlords with the kind of respect South American narcoterrorists deserve.Life is nice for Victor, who outwits the Feds and captures the affections of a sizzling Latina co-ed as he amasses a small fortune dealing dope.Personally, if I cleared $5 million a year running smack, I’d cash in my chips in a year or two, buy beachfront property in Cuba and start a harem. But Victor wants more and figures a Waspy investment banker from SoHo holds the keys to his financial future.Before you can say &quotRoberto Clemente,&quot the banker has Victor bamboozled and ready to sink his entire empire, along with a million bucks from the Colombians, into a biotech bonanza.Victor might know the price of a dime bag on the mean streets of the Bronx, but he doesn’t know frijoles about Wall Street. The swarthy Marc Anthony clone does not even see the scam until the fast-talking banker and his babe girlfriend have skipped the Big Apple with a trunk load of Benjamins.Faced with certain death if he can’t track down the con man and reclaim the Colombians’ money, Victor goes hunting for the missing MBA.Obvious plot lines plague Empire, which steals liberally from the likes of Little Caesar and Scarface.Not even the ultra-lovely Denise Richards, who plays the banker’s moll, can save this Chihuahua from scratching fleas. In fact, the newly wedded Mrs. Charlie Sheen is little more than mannequin with great lips in this tired old tale about the downfall of a street loser.Until next time, Mr. Hernandez has left the theater to chase the dragon.Nickey Hernandez is a former private investigator, who maintains a close, personal relationship with the Frito Bandito.


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