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RUNNING TIME: 123 min
Digital Copy of Film
Basic Strategy: A Complete Film Journal
Money Plays: A Tour of the Good Life Featurette
The Advantage Player Featurette
White kids and a few of their Asian counterparts take Vegas for a ride.
Joe Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey and Aaron Yoo
Watch me morph into Henry Thomas in three minutes.
“21″ is another white-wash of a true-crime case. Jeff Ma gets transformed into Ben Campbell for this mainstream retelling of how a couple of M.I.T. students took Vegas for a ride. Sure, card counting is legal. But, what Professor Mickey Rosa did was to train a team of students for the explicit purpose of defrauding casinos. The kids magically keep up their grades and spend their weekends cleaning up on the Blackjack table. It’s every degenerate college student’s dream come true.
It’s not that I’m not Keyser Soze. It’s just that, well…I have ever told you about my troubles with dehydration. Comes out just like snot.
Gambling has always been one of America’s cooler vices. 21 plays to this love like the Joe Camel of a new age. If you have read the film’s source book Bringing Down the House, then you probably need to forget a lot of things from that work. Things such as facts and other nonsense that must’ve kept the excitement down. Oh well, that’s enough of being mean.
The film is a mixed bag with a terrific cast. Joe Sturgess is growing on me, as this Andrew McCarthy of a new generation. He doesn’t quite connect where he should and he always seems to pop up in films where there’s not a perfect fit. But, he holds himself together against Fishburne and Spacey. But, that’s not what saves a film. What saves a film is coherency.
Yeah. TriggerStreet is accepting new scripts. Sweet!
Director Robert Luketic is where I believe most of the film comes apart. When you have a film set in Las Vegas, there’s an expectation for some excitement to be included. By keeping the camera so close to the details and not taking in the grand picture, Luketic blew a lot of shots. That coupled with a mangled script that liberally chose what it needed from the real-life events, we’re left with a slight mess. Case in point, the multiple subplots that helped to introduce Laurence Fishburne’s character.
21 represents another continuation in the American dreamlike glamorization of the moral edge. It’s almost dangerous when you compare it to Hollywood’s historical connection to the criminal element. This film states in a rather sloppily manner that there’s no consequences if you’re young and you can pin it on your professor. This lazy manner of resolving complicated issues sends a rather poor message to young filmgoers. But, who cares? This bitch made about one hundred million dollars. That’s folding money.
Look. It’s not my fault that there were no fight scenes. Singer was living inside of Donner’s ass and nobody could’ve reached him in time. IT WASN’T MY FAULT!
21 arrives on DVD with a two-disc special edition that is stuffed to the gills. You get the digital copy throw into the mix. Let me take a minute here to point something out. When did the average film fan become so busy, that they can’t spent the time to watch the DVD they bought. It’s like…fuck this disc shit. I need a three inch tall copy that I can play on my IPOD. I don’t have time to hear shit in Dolby Digital 5.1 I’ve got to watch Rambo while I’m waiting in traffic. The featurettes are fun, but the director’s commentary doesn’t do enough to explain the film’s central ethnicity changes.
The A/V Quality is pretty strong. I initially reviewed this title alongside the Blu-Ray. While the Blu-Ray version absolutely floored this version, that’s not to discount one of the cleanest transfers that SONY has put out on DVD. There’s very little digital noise and there’s no hazing anywhere in the film. It’s nice to see such quality brought to the slowly ending current home entertainment generation.
In the end, 21 is a decent movie that surprisingly cleaned up in the Spring. Why it did so well is something that I can’t really explain. But, it was nice to see your average soccer mom take an interest in this true story. While finishing this film, I was left with one thought that I wanted to pass onto you. What in the hell does Spacey have Kate Bosworth? Nude pics? A dead hobo? How else does a young starlet get stuck in three films with this older guy?
Cookies and a single parent household. Making America proud since 1975.
7.3 out of 10
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey