21 (2008)

21 (2008)

Director: Robert Luketic
There are many stories about success based on hard-work and perseverance. There have also been many stories about success based on crime and abandonment of the law. Both of these scenarios can make for great movies -- but when a movie like 21 comes out, it's both great AND fresh. 21 is a movie about success based on locking in on a hole in the system, and exploiting it.

Card counting is legal, and anyone able to do so can take the house's edge away in a game of blackjack. That is the basic premise of 21: A team of intelligent students at MIT structure a team to make vast amounts of money at the blackjack table. They have everything down pat, from the counting to the signals to alert of suspicious casino workers (because if you can believe it, casinos don't like to lose money in such high amounts.) The movie portrays the situation stylishly, perfectly blending in montages and effective music when necessary. Add in some Hollywood "embellishment" such as a particularly harsh head of security (Laurence Fishburne), and you have the making of a good movie on your hands.

It is disappointing that the production team felt the need to re-assign the races of the actual MIT Team (of which the majority was Asian), but that's more of an issue of ethics and sociology. Don't let it ruin a perfectly good movie. Aside from this blunder, 21 is an excellent film.

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