Luketic’s 21 takes you on a journey through the eyes of Ben Campbell (aka Jim Sturgess) – an ultra-clever student with lofty dream of graduating from Harvard Medical School. Now, that may sound pretty easy if you IQ is off the scale…..but finding the small matter of the $300,000 dollars is takes to fund your studies is rather more challenging! Campbell’s widowed mother offers to give him every penny – but there’s no way Ben’s going to sell his soul to Harvard.
Instead – thanks to a mathematics professor (Micky Rosa, aka Kevin Spacey) with a history of cleaning out Las Vegas’ – Campbell soon finds himself selling it to blackjack. Ben’s soon lured into a secret student card counting racket, mentored by the scheming Rossa, who dreams of getting another one over the casinos who banned him. Don’t worry though – good old Ben promises to quit the team as soon as he’s made the 300K needed to fulfil his Harvard dream (how sweet!). Of course, the allures of Vegas, money, power and women are an intoxicating shot, and he’s soon as hooked as the rest of Rossa’s baby faced assassins (Aaron Yoo, Kate Bosworth, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts & Laurence Fishburne).
21 quickly jumps on a plane and jets out the casino playground of Las Vegas, packed with all the expected glamour and delights of Sin City (delivered with some questionable PG ratings). The money grabbing casinos are soon left wishing they’d never fallen for the ‘easy money’ lucky rich kids, as the MIT team take the casinos for millions using mental power, cool gizmos and nifty hand work.
Lucetic’s script won’t ask you to pay too much attention, thanks to a stereotypically glossy, fast paced picture that practically guarantees mainstream success. However, 21 does have an un-easy undertone, asking the question – ‘is everything for sale?’. What’s the price of Ben’s dream, what’s the consequence of power, money and success, and is anyone really as genuine as they seem?
Overall, 21 is a very watchable and enjoyable yarn – and whether you’re a casino lover or don’t have a clue about blackjack…..there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy watching the nasty casinos being legally robbed for millions.