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21 Brings In Cash At More Then The Card Table

May 9, 2008
Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in casinos today. With the simple formula of whoever gets 21 or the highest number wins, the game is easy to play and is one of the few card games in which the player has just as much of a chance of being the winner as the dealer. Or at least it would seem.

The new film 21 is based on the true story and book Bringing Down the House based on the exploits of four MIT students who were brought together and went to Las Vegas where they attempted to win money at Blackjack by means of card counting. While card counting is not illegal in Las Vegas, if one is caught card counting, their can be dire consequences to those in control of whatever casino one is in.

The plot for the film is as follows: Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who needing to pay school tuition finds the answers in the cards. He is recruited to join a group of the school's most gifted students that heads to Vegas every weekend armed with fake identities and the know-how to turn the odds at blackjack in their favor. With unorthodox math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) leading the way, they've cracked the code.

By counting cards and employing an intricate system of signals, the team can beat the casinos big time. Seduced by the money, the Vegas lifestyle, and by his smart and sexy teammate, Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth), Ben begins to push the limits.

Though counting cards isn't illegal, the stakes are high, and the challenge becomes not only keeping the numbers straight, but staying one step ahead of the casinos' menacing enforcer: Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).

The film has received some racial controversy due to the fact that in reality and in the novel of which the film is based, the four main characters were Asian Americans whereas the film executives have hired mostly Caucasian actors to portray said characters.

This has led many to accuse the studio of white-washing the film. It should also be noted that more American sounding names were given to two of the main characters. Controversies aside, the film is expected to remain, for the most part, faithful to the book and true event. 21 opened in theatres March 28, 2008.
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