Sunday, March 30, 2008

movie review - 21

I SO wanted to like this movie but it had a bit too many flaws for me. The movie is called 21 (imdb)(official Sony website here). I mean c'mon, it has Kevin Spacey in it! He's a great actor and he usually picks awesome movies to star in. (Spacey was good in this, just not good enough to save the entire movie.)
A little background first... The movie is based on true events. I first read of this group of "kids" from MIT in the pages of Wired magazine. (You can read it online here). It was a really interesting story! Nutshell... these mathematical wizards who went to MIT figured out a card-counting scheme to win big at blackjack. Card-counting is NOT illegal. But... the Casino's don't like it when you count. So if you're caught, they basically ban you from the Casino (not to mention a possible beat-down). So the trick is, how do you count cards, and not get caught? That's what the story is about.
Well, my biggest complaint about the movie, was the fact that I felt like it was produced by Mtv! It seemed like there would be 5 minutes of dialog which would then be followed by a 4 minute music video. The licensing fees must have been enormous for this movie what with all the songs they used. It all just felt a bit too forced with trying to be seen as "young and hip".
In writing this post and grabbing a few websites about the film, I'm also seeing that the "MIT gang" reportedly took/won millions! from the Casinos. The movie never made it clear how much money was being won or lost. It seemed to only be a few hundred thousand doallars at stake. There were so many interesting details left out of the story, to make room for the "glitz", that the story really lacked. I'll take a good story over glitz any day.
So, my advice... probably better off waiting for the DVD on this one. It wasn't horrible, it just could have been so much better.
PS> I also have to add... I predict Aaron Yoo (imdb) will go places. His role was as a supporting character, but he stole the attention almost every time he was on screen. I think he's got potential. I didn't recognize him, but he was also in Transformers.

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