’21’ Looks Like a Remake of ‘The Last Casino’

Because it features beautiful versions of MIT geeks counting cards, the theatrical trailer for “21” is currently getting Dugg. Here it is:

It bears a striking resemblance to a half-decent Canadian film called “The Last Casino”. Here’s the plot summary from IMDB:

One deadbeat teacher discovers that three of his students are great math wizzes and decides to teach them how to count cards and make lots of money. As they learn how to play the casinos, things get tricky when the debt owing teacher informs them that their front man wants restitution for loses (of supposed $500,000 Canadian) in about a weeks time. The three students decide to hit all the major casinos in Ontario and Quebec until discovered.

Sound familiar? I couldn’t find a trailer online, but here’s a clip from early in the film:

Much like “Munich” and “Sword of Gideon”, it always bums me out a little when big budget movies replicate the stories of smaller and independent films. Most viewers never know that the apparent original work they’re watching is, in fact, highly derivative. And it’s a safer bet for the artists involved in the remake, because the creators of the original made many of their mistakes for them.


  1. I hear you! This is the 2nd movie that bummed me out, too. First was the remake of the Asian film, “Infernal Affairs”, that was overshadowed by although a good film but still needs to credit its source, “The Departed”. And now, this “21” movie. I highly recommend “Last Casino” to anyone interested in seeing it.

    Another good film that was remade recently was “I am Legend”:


  2. Actually, The Departed DOES credit Infernal Affairs. Credits are there for a reason. If you are the type to criticize a film for not properly crediting, you should be the type to actually stay through the credits, or just actually research.

  3. GDW: In defence of momo, it’s not just a matter of referencing the source material in the credits. What percentage of film watchers see that? Less than 1%, I’m guessing.

    It’s about recognizing, publicly, in interviews and such, where the origins and previous versions of the story Some filmmakers do this better than others. I can’t speak to “Infernal Affairs”, specifically.

  4. I was just watching TV and saw the trailer for the movie 21, and it bugged me right away because the first thing I thought was ” that’s crappy, their ripping off a Canadian movie again ”

    I just remember seeing The Last Casino and just falling in love with the characters and such.
    I agree its sort of disappointing.

    — Tiff (likes watching Canadian Indie Films)

  5. I am the Director of The Last Casino and i have to say i was shocked when I saw the trailer of 21… sad also because i shot my film in 22 days with no money…
    I never read the book “Bringing down the house”, but i know its about MIT students counting cards. Is there a teacher and a bad guy like in my movie? i dont know… The only thing I know is that its crazy-scary similar…
    I am glad to see a lot of people reacting to my half decent film 😉
    thanks to all…


  6. I loved The Lost Casino, I just wished they had the movie set in Vancouver casinos. 😉

  7. I was bummed too to see 21 was made.. I really liked the Last Casino. I felt 21 was a knock off. I connected with the Canada cities, and the Canadian money. I loved the actors, as they portrayed a sense of natural people. I assume that 21 will have all the gory and the glitz, but it will never have that independent film connection with the audience. That is called HEART!

  8. Making films that bear a strong resamblance to other films or creating a “new version” of an existing movie is nothing new. Just think about “Seven Samurai” & “The Magnificent Seven” or “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” & “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “Solaris” (by Andrei Tarkovsky) and its horrible remake. Although it seems like there’s a kind of trend right now to redo old classics. But I would’t go so far as to say that this is a bad thing itself. Sure, in most cases the remake/new version/&c can’t hold a candle to the original and one could also sometimes get the impression that the creators of the new film didn’t bother to be original themselves but were primarily concerned with their profits. But I do think that any remake is always also an advertisement for the original. In many cases this concerns brilliant movies that were not known by many people untill a “new version” called attention to it.

  9. Reply to crazy b****:

    I agree there is nothing wrong with remakes. Whats wrong is when an independent movie is copied and no attempt to credit them is made.

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