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3,000 Miles to Graceland

Director:Demian Lichtenstein
Writers:Richard Recco and Demian Lichtenstein
Warner Bros.; R; 121 minutes
Release:2/01
Cast:Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox

3,000 Miles to Graceland means you're a long way from Memphis. Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell star in this violently misguided mess, although director Demian Lichtenstein deserves blame. The slipshod plot throws together a crew of hardened criminals planning to rob a Las Vegas casino during its Elvis celebration. Heavily armed with rhinestones, outlandish jumpsuits, and automatic weapons, Michael (Kurt Russell), Murphy (Kevin Costner), and thug buddies (David Arquette, Bokeem Woodbine) rob the casino's bank while murdering well over a hundred innocent bystanders. This garish scene employs dozens of Elvis impersonators, including the entire gang. That alone qualifies it as a bad movie. This is a “crime gone bad” flick, so the stolen loot only escalates the cartoonish infighting. Murphy offs his companions to keep the winnings for himself. He believes he's Elvis son and this is somehow an acceptable form of claiming his birthright. Michael survives—he too believes himself to be the King's illegitimate offspring—and the chase is on. With inexplicable haste, Michael becomes involves with a single mother (Courtney Cox) and by association, her delinquent son. Their presence adds no depth.

The violence, gratuitous and stylized, serves no obvious purpose other than distraction. The best way to capitalize on the Elvis myth would have been to make a movie for adults who remember it, rather than aiming 3,000 Miles to Graceland at youth excited by the gunplay. That wouldn't have been too difficult: Russell acted alongside Elvis himself, and sports a history with Elvis movies; Costner is a talented actor (who, to be sure, gamely assumes a nasty role here). Real direction could have sculpted their quirky sibling rivalry into something original, or at least something with a point.


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