Retro Review: 3000 Miles to Graceland

What do you get when you mix Elvis impersonators, a blood-thirsty heist, an ensemble cast, a rookie director and a “Pulp Fiction”-“Matrix” style? Well a little bit of everything.

The loose story of this film circles around a band of high-caliber thieves who gang up to storm the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas. Their cover will be to dress as Elvis impersonators during the “Elvis Week” celebration being held at the luxurious casino. A perfect plan and a daring escape send the thieves on the run but it turns out that they maybe should be watching each other than the cops.

Within the gang are the vicious leader (Kevin Costner), the reluctant ex-con (Kurt Russell), the hotshot (Christian Slater), the funny man (David Arquette) and a chopper pilot (Howie Long).

“3000 Miles to Graceland” is probably the longest titled movie to hit the silver screen in a long time. The title foreshadows the length of the film (130 minutes), the amount of familiar Hollywood faces in the film (about 20) and the amount of bullets used (I imagine, well over 30,000).

Music video veteran Demien Lichtenstein directs and writes this hodgepodge that has some really entertaining scenes but lacks any real substance. The script has very little originality, some very useless supporting characters, and a mundane subplot. One small thing I did like about the script was that it is laced with humor which helps in some of the needless scenes.

Lichtenstein created these characters. Didn’t he know he should have killed the Courtney Cox character in the first 20 minutes? I mean I haven’t seen a love interest this annoying since Sondra Locke in all those Clint Eastwood flicks. She will make you pull your hair out. I liked the fact that she was a single mother with a son. Her son and Russell really bond and it’s great but why was she really needed?

The movie could have really benefited by forcing Russell to take the kid under his wing after his mother’s brutal death. There are at least 6 scenes where she could have met her demise by either random gunfire or the wrath of Costner’s psycho band leader, Murphy.

The film’s gun battles are right out of the “Matrix” and it is kind of cool watching them. I mean there is something cool about watching 6 Elvises leveling a casino by killing almost everyone inside. The whole casino heist is awesome and it is really to bad the film never continues the tension and suspense after. Post casino, the movie for me really went no where. It turns into a movie like the “Getaway” and plows into the dust of the desert.

One scene I really have to joke about is the scene after the robbery where Slater confronts Costner. Slater moans about his share of the dough. As Slater delivers his speech I couldn’t stop thinking that in some crazy way it felt a lot like when Slater’s Will Scarlet confronts Costner’s Robin Hood in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”. Except I like how Costner deals with the annoying sidekick here better. I thought it was pretty funny.

The humor, casino scenes, Russell trying real hard and a cool kid are the good about this film. The rest is wasted, annoying or boring.

(2.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

PS: When you see this film, could you write me on how many familiar faces you saw. I am guessing about 20.

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