3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) – Review

2 Stars

Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner are thieves posing as Elvis impersonators, in town to rob a Vegas casino on the busiest weekend of the year. After a dazzling heist sequence, turned shoot out that ends with a rooftop helicopter getaway (piloted by Howie Long of NFL on FOX fame). Costner double crosses his gang mercilessly wiping them out in order to keep the full take of $3 million dollars, stowed away in a duffel bag sitting in the attic of a seedy motel room outside the city.

Debuting director Demian Lichtenstein shows a flair for the cinematic overkill present in some of John Woo’s better work and also a weakness for letting his film ramble on when tighter control in the editing room seems called for. The real problem with 3000 Miles to Graceland is that after a great first act the film slumps into a routine story focusing on the exploits of Russell’s character, a ten year old boy and a floozy drifter played with massive sexual appeal by Courtney Cox. Nothing particularly interesting or original happens in this section and the filmmakers seem to go out of their way to make these characters unlikable. Costner is all but forgotten as his character is left to wonder through the rest of the film chasing down Russell, while encountering strange individuals on the highway and even stopping for a duel with a redneck police officer. Lichtenstein is channeling Tarantino through the sensibilities of Oliver Stone.

3000 Miles to Graceland is the kind of concept that sounds great as a pitch. When that idea is carried out into a nearly two hour cinematic experience the purpose is lost. There is no doubting that Lichtenstein has the talent to make something remarkable and while this is a miss it’s also one of the most offbeat guilty pleasures of the last decade.

Director: Demian Lichtenstein
Stars: Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Courtney Cox

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