A couple months ago, if you asked me about this movie, I would have immediately said, "OMG. I’m gonna pre-order 4 tickets to the very first showing, wait in line 8 hours beforehand, watch the movie, the walk out and stand in line again, just so I could see it twice in one day. And then I’m going to take a Southwest flight to Vegas that evening."
(Incidentally, "21" is a movie loosely based on Ben Mezrich’s book, "Bringing Down the House", the story of the original MIT blackjack team that took Las Vegas for millions of dollars by counting cards as a team.)
And NOW? I’m getting pissed off at how badly warped this movie has become courtesy of the studios. What’s my beef? Well, I actually have several (Not the least of which being that the whole movie’s been essentially whitewashed of its Asian characters. I mean, just imagine the fury that would have erupted had the main character instead been Black instead of Asian and portrayed as White "for demographics reasons" in the movie) but the most recent was the fact that their advertising seems to actually be teaching people how to count cards incorrectly.
INCORRECT CARD COUNTING DETAILS
Go to the movie web site (http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/21/), click ENTER THE SITE, wait for this monstrosity of a Flash site to load, then click on "Ben" the supposed Jeff Ma character.
Listen to what "Ben" says:
"They call it a high low system. You see a HIGH card you add 1 to a running total. You see a LOW card you subtract 1. Now the higher that running count gets the more you bet. The lower the count gets the sooner you get up and and the sooner you leave."
Either their technical advisors are idiots or something weird is going on. And being that Las Vegas has seen a SERIOUS drop off in tourism in the past year – what with the recession coming and all – it’s not that far off to consider this rather deliberate inaccuracy in instruction.
It’s no secret that the Blackjack card counting phenomenon has actually brought in substantially more money for Las Vegas and Atlantic City than it’s lost. By implementing 6:5 tables and 6 deck with poor penetration, more ‘wannabe’ counters have gone to Vegas in search of riches only to come away penniless. The folks rushing in for a "quick win" lose only to discover that card counting is an occupation of very small margins.
So hey – why not tickle everyone’s fancy again with a movie about some young kids gettin’ rich? And better yet – do it in a way that compels the ignorant to think they’re somehow ‘informed’?
I’m beginning to really dread the prospect of this movie.