21 centres around Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a young and promising MIT student with a dream of getting a scholarship to join Havard in order to study Medicine and become a professional doctor. Unfortunately, he learns that he cannot raise the required $300,000 fee because of his background.
Out of his desperation, Ben is introduced by his slick Mathematics professor, Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey), to a group of five students Jill, Choi, Kianna, and Fisher to study the art of card counting in a Blackjack casino game.
At first, he was reluctant to join, but he was lured by the wiles of their gorgeous genius counterpart – Jill (Kate Bosworth).
Being a maths guru, he quickly learns to score and within a short time he is crowned the leader of the team, where he earns his Havard tuition fee. Money is sweet and this sweetness made Ben forget about his dream of becoming a doctor. He eventually, falls into the trap of the nightlife of Las Vegas, but he forgets that the city does not take cheaters lightly.
In the meantime, the almost retiring casino security officer Cole Williams is brought to town to monitor the blackjack team using the new biometric facial recognition software. He quickly couples his old school technics with the new technology to prove himself still-relevance by unveiling Ben’s MIT team tricks. Out of confusion of failing to complete an engineering competition, thus, he could not see his friends’ signal to exit from the game. Consequently, he loses the $200,000 deal. Rosa decided to walk out of the team as he accuses Ben for gambling instead of sticking to their deal of card counting. Unfortunately, Ben is kidnapped and tortured by William. Lucky enough, Roas is tipped about Ben’s situation but William frees him before Rosa gets them.
Things are worsening on Ben’s side. He later learns that one of his classes has not been graded meaning he might not graduate and also, all the money he earned from the casinos has been stolen from his lock.
The genius Ben comes up with a plan and reconciles with his team and decides to take an offer to the suspected thief. They must return to Las Vegas for one last game before the biometric software is installed but they forced Rosa to join them. After disguising their identity, they enter Planet Hollywood where they managed to win $640000. The worst happen and Ben and Rosa decide to split up with Rosa escaping with the bag of chips. The unlucky Rosa rushes to enter the parked limousine with the intention of taking all the winnings away, but instead he realises that it was a bag full of chocolates and the limousine driver was the casino manager! The hunter becomes the hunted, huh!
It is now clear that Ben and Williams had struck a deal and laid a trap to give out Rosa to the casino authorities.
21 is based on Ben Mezrich’s novel, “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” and, unlike other story-based movies which are casted, this one is a hit.
The movie is equipped with excellent visual effects and the roles played by Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, and Kevin Spacey were exemplary. As well, the movie has suspense, a vivid storyline, intriguing scenes and finally a happy ending. If you haven’t watched it, do not waste any time.
Running time: 123 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Released: April 11th 2008
Director: Robert Luketic
Producers: Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Kevin Spacey
Screenplay: Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb (based on the book “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” by Ben Mezrich)
Music: David Sardy
Ben Campbell: Jim Sturgess
Professor Micky Rosa: Kevin Spacey
Jill Taylor: Kate Bosworth
Cole Williams: Laurence Fishburne
Choi: Aaron Yoo
Kianna: Liza Lapira
Fisher: Jacob Pitts
Terry: Jack McGee
Miles Connoly: Josh Gad
Cam Azazi: Sam Golzari
Ellen Campbell: Helen Carey
Bob Phillips: Jack Gilpin
Stemple: Spencer Garrett
Planet Hollywood Dealer Jeff: Jeffrey Ma
Jill’s Friend: Kris Williams
Poker player: Kieu Chinh