Action film buffs will be very familiar with the setting of the casino. From the tension of James Bond films to the capers of the Ocean’s Trilogy, it is a trope popular in the genre. Why? What about games of chance and big money keep action stars coming back for more?
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale is a masterpiece of the game. Playing against Le Chiffre in a game of No Limit Texas Hold’em the stakes for Queen and Country don’t get higher. However in Fleming’s original Chemin-De-Fer was the game of choice. Either way, Craig and Mikkelson (Le Chiffre) eye each other up intense moments as Le Chiffre’s tell becomes Bond’s downfall and he loses big, 10 million big. After buying back in with $5 million from his friends at the Secret Service, Bond goes toe to toe with Le Chiffre and wins it all. As a scene it was beautiful, and as a plot device to flush out Le Chiffre, inspired.
Robert Luketic’s 21 is not only full of action but based on true events. Starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth it follows 6 students, from MIT, trained by a Maths professor in card counting. Their intellect and planning see them win millions from Blackjack tables in Las Vegas but not without intrigue. While Spacey plays Micky Rosa, the unorthodox professor, the real leader was not a single person at all. Bill Kaplan was seen as a major inspiration but admits J.P. Masser and John Chang also played a huge role in developing the team that would win millions from Las Vegas casinos. The movie itself is full of action and tension as the counters and players try to outwit the advanced security in today’s casinos.
Jason Statham stars in, 13, one of the most recent films based on Roulette. However, it isn’t just any kind of roulette. Statham falls into the world of Russian Roulette. A series of rounds in which 13 people enter and fire at their competitors until only one survives. The prize is $1.85 million. Not for the faint-hearted, this film dives into the criminal underworld and the depths people will go. A particularly tense scene is in round three when four competitors get three bullets each. Each given a 50% chance of death they take turns firing at one another. If you enjoy tense action movies and Jason Statham this film is a must.
No list would be complete without mentioning the casino caper. While some movies focus on a single game, these films look to rob the entire casino instead. The Ocean’s Trilogy is the quintessential caper series with a cast of Hollywood royalty. George Clooney reprises the lead role along with the likes of Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts. If you enjoy the glitz and glamour of casinos and love action films then this series is a must.
Casinos and games of chance are a great source of tension, intrigue, and luck. Their synonymous relationship with action films is in no small part to the ability to turn a scene on its head with a single hand or roll of the dice. This is why the genre and the setting find themselves such familiar bedfellows.