Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mini Review:
21 (2008)
Directed by: Robert Luketic
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Lawrence Fishburne, and Kate Bosworth

I enjoyed this! It reminded me of the 1995 classic, 'Hackers'-a movie that revels in the brain power of a group of youngsters up against a supposedly unbeatable system. In this one, the youngsters are students of MIT who are invited by an ambitious teacher to accompany him on weekend trips to Vegas where they make a 'killing' counting cards. The system they use is supposedly 'fullproof' and indeed things go well for a while, especially after the addition of Ben Campbell (Sturgess), an exceptional student on a mission to earn his Harvard Med tuition before graduation. The teacher is played superbly by Spacey, and I have to say that I'm surpised he didnt get more critical acclaim for this part. It's the best thing I've seen him in since American Beauty. He really shines during a brief scene at the end where he dons a cowboy hat and southern accent in order to make one last score at the Blackjack tables. Sturgess is a credible lead and will obviously be a star, mainly due to his deft ability to appear awkwardly brilliant and loveable. Fishburne is always memorable and is no less so here, where he portrays an unethical casino security guard while the rest of the cast is on point, but given little to do. The story is engaging throughout and, much like Hackers, peaks at the point of the 'big score'. Also like Hackers, the characters are what really add an edge to the otherwise familiar 'david vs goliath' plot line. Vegas never looked more beautiful and the game of Blackjack takes on an entirely new appeal...a worthy piece of entertainment.

My rating: 7/10


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