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3000 Miles to Graceland (R)
Warner Brothers
Official Site
Director: Demian Lichtenstein
Producers: Elie Samaha, Demian Lichtenstein, Richard Spero, Eric Manes, Andrew Stevens
Written by: Richard Recco and Demian Lichtenstein
Cast: Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Christian Slater, Courteney Cox, Kevin Pollak, Bokeem Woodbine, Thomas Haden Church, Howie Long, David Arquette, Jon Lovitz, Ice-T

Rating: out of 5

There is nothing quite like a good action flick. RESERVOIR DOGS. THE WILD BUNCH. THE MATRIX. One would have high hopes for 3000 MILES TO GRACELAND. Just look at the cast! And the premise—Elvis impersonators stage a casino heist in Las Vegas! Music by George S. Clinton! Plus, as we find out later in the movie, a sexy love interest, a plucky kid, and special effects to boot! But with all this going for it, 3000 MILES falls short.

The movie starts off with two giant computer-generated scorpions battling in the desert. We must assume they are meant to represent Murphy (Costner) and Michael (Russell), ex-cons who have teamed up with generic bad guys played by Slater, Woodbine, and Arquette to rob a casino during an Elvis Impersonator Convention. It’s the highlight of the movie to watch these men snatch $3.2 million while decked out as The King, from mutton-chop sideburns to rhinestoned capes. Unfortunately the casino’s security guards are so pitifully overmatched that the frenetic and nicely soundtracked getaway becomes more a slaughter than a shootout.

As foreshadowed by the scorpions, we come to find out that while Michael may be a bad guy, Murphy is a Bad Guy. Evil incarnate who believes he is Elvis Presley’s illegitimate son, and either screws or kills anyone he meets. Thus it comes to pass that soon these two are the only ones standing and are on the run from both the law (played by wisecracking Pollak and Church) and each other.

The weakest point of the movie is the alleged romance between Michael and Cybil (Cox), which begins on a touching note when, within five minutes of having met, Cox and Russell are doing the mattress dance while her well-trained young son sneaks in the room to steal Russell’s wallet. There were uncomfortable snickers from the audience whenever Cox and Russell traded sweet nothings.

Costner plays Murphy with obvious relish; indeed it’s the fact that it is Eliot Ness and Dances with Wolves himself playing this remorseless killer that somehow makes it all the more menacing. Russell seems to enjoy the irony of playing an Elvis-impersonating robber after played The King himself in the well-regarding TV biopic “Elvis” back in the ’70s.

Ultimately 3000 MILES does itself in by being too much—too mean in its violence, too MTV in its special effects, too obvious in its humor. It is an entertaining movie, good for a rainy Saturday afternoon. But it will never be named alongside the other action movies mentioned in this review.

—Sandhya Shardanand

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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