Running Time: 2 hrs. 2 min.
Release Date: March 28th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity.
Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by: Robert LuketicJJ Rating: B
Smarty pants M.I.T. students, and a teacher, take Vegas on and rake in the big bucks. That is until their teacher has a mood shift and things fall like a house of cards. Har. Har. Har. Oh and it’s (loosely) based on a true story. 21.
I’m going to just go with the bad news first and that is 21 took billions of eons to finish. It was, and I am pretty sure, 30 minutes too long. It was excessive with certain story points or scenes that really didn’t need the amount of attention that they got. Specifically the hot and heavy moment between Ben Cambell (Jim Sturgess) and Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth) was just a big fat NO from me. I was really thinking, “So what?” I went to see a movie about cards not about a player. Sorry, the card speak is punning things up. I’ll try to cut back.
That was my major issue with the movie. The massive amount of time they played with certain hands…I mean scenes…was amateurish. The story is the focus. The story should have stayed the focus not the romantic aspect or anything else. This movie was all about the game blackjack and how M.I.T. students used their minds, a Las Vegas no-no, to win. It’s not about how his tongue can go in her mouth and her hand can travel up his back. They would have been better off flirting with that idea than actually showing anything.
The other things were the obsessive need to show how Ben studied by flipping the cards. Sometimes a really good montage can sum up long drawn out periods and that would have really worked well here. Well there was a montage it just took almost as long as if they just flat out did the scenes.
I read this other reviews of the movie and they were upset over the one-liners while in their own review they were dropping them left and right trying to be punny to the extent of being hypocritical for complaining about the movie’s attempt. Then there are people that are on Youtube that are making comments on the guy who Ben Campbell is modeled after (Jeffrey Ma if you were curious) because he’s played by Jim Sturgess who is not Asian and Jeffery is. What’s to be noted is that he does not have strong Asian appearance. I’m Asian and after finding out that he was and knowing Sturgess isn’t I was not offended because Sturgess is a very good actor and capable of playing this character. I think the race issue is a bit moot because, as I stated, the star of the movie should have been the story. It is good to mention that there is an Asian actor in the film and that is Aaron Yoo. Whether or not his character is supposed to be Asian, instead of white, is unknown to me, but I’m sure if he did play a white character there wouldn’t be a minor uproar on Youtube or any tube for that matter.
I enjoyed the opening credits with the close ups of al the cards. There were some cool visuals of when Sturgess is at the table and everyone is moving quickly around him and the shots of Vegas. The best actor in this film that stood out and it seemed like everyone was just promoting him, was Jim Sturgess. I think he’s talented and he just out played everyone else on the screen and in the movie. Oh I did it again, sorry.
The ending is awesome. If the movie kept a better pace instead of slow down as if it were trying to tell the story to five year olds, it would have been one hell of a movie. But with there being so many different kinds of gambling movies out there that are interesting, fun and witty; it had to push and it didn’t do that as much as it did a perfect drag. The ending was gang coolness.
21 had its moments of cool and fun. The actors that you think as well seasoned did not really do as well and felt a bit over the top, but I’ve already complained enough about the movie and I rather move on to the other movies I saw. It’s not a horrible movie, but it’s not something to go on and on about. It is middle of the line movie. Meaning, I believe, it’s only worth seeing if you are going to go to an early showing so you don’t feel you spent too much money. It’s not really a movie that’s a must see, but if you are willing to sit through a grueling 1 hour and 50 minutes, then you’ll see a pretty awesome ending.
The one thing 21 did a good job at was counting on the one actor that seemingly had everything put together even though the movie seemed to be falling apart around him (excluding the end) and that actor is, of course, Jim Sturgess.