3000 Miles To Graceland
Warner Bros.
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 13, 2001
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The Movie:

Definitely not a picture with a pleasant production history or attitude, "3000 Miles To Graceland" eventually reached a point that's never a good point for any movie - both of its lead stars actually sat in the editing room and made their own cuts of the movie, which they both screened for audiences. As with audiences once the picture actually went to theaters, the response was negative - to say the least. A mean-spirited picture that often wastes the talents (although with the decisions that some involved have made lately, it would be safe to say their talents have been wasted for a while) of the actors involved, the picture attempts to throw as much heavy editing and visuals at the audience as possible to distract them from the lack of little things like story (and the mis-use of a BT song, although his tracks seem to end up in every movie nowadays).

"3000 Miles", in its own way, is sort of like a re-make of John Frankenheimer's terrible "Reindeer Games". Where that film had santas robbing a casino, this picture has a team of Elvis impersonators robbing a Vegas casino. Who thought this would make for a good movie? The leads are Murph (Costner) and less nasty Mike (Kurt Russell). Secondary Elvises (Elvi?) are played by Christian Slater and another by David Arquette. Their plan: the rob a casino. Sounds rather basic, but they don't exactly do a terribly crisp job of things, and soon enough, it turns into an all-out battle in the middle of the casino floor. Like the rest of the movie, this scene is disturbingly violent and all about the editing, as "Matrix"-ish scenes are tried, but pale in comparison. None of the action sequences are the least bit thrilling or suspenseful since we couldn't care less about any of the characters. After a while, it all becomes utterly dull (although Elvis tunes behind action scenes strangely worked rather decently).

Once the robbery is finshed (less a few Elvi), Mike takes off with the cash - the remainder of the movie has Murph (Costner doesn't exactly play evil that well) giving chase, with Mike's new "girlfriend" Cybil Waingrow (Courteney Cox) and her miniature thief of a kid in the middle. Just why she is the least bit attracted to Mike remained unexplained; the movie didn't seem to have the slightest idea why, either. Although Cox is certainly not the greatest actress, she doesn't deserve to play such low-life characters, either. At one point, she even leaves her kid behind. Even the film's supporting cast is full of well-known actors - Thomas Hayden Church and Kevin Pollack play cops that don't seem to have much of a clue what they're doing while Jon Lovitz, who is usually terrific, presents one of his worst performances.

The film could have used some extreme editing - if it wouldn't have made the movie make any more sense, it would have at least made it more bearable to sit through. Once the picture starts its "road trip" section and has the two characters chasing after one another for the money, it starts to get real, real slow. The picture wanders aimlessly during this lengthy stretch; the over two hour running time feels absolutely endless. Oliver Stone did this far better in "U-Turn" and even that certainly wasn't one of his better efforts.

The only thing - the one positive element that stands out - is Russell. An actor who has played Elvis before, he gets the mannerisms right. He also is the only one who attempts to make anything out of his character as well as the only likable character involved in the whole thing.

"3000 Miles To Graceland" is rated R - but it's a very strong R (I'm quite suprised it wasn't NC-17 - the MPAA doesn't know what they're doing anymore, it seems) for violence and language.


VIDEO: "3000 Miles To Graceland" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and, like the other recent Warner Brothers title "Valentine" is an example of how much Warner Brothers has improved over recent months. Sharpness and detail are exceptional, for an impressively well-defined and crisp image throughout the movie with only a couple of exceptions where slight softness seemed to be intentional with the photography.

There were only a few minor flaws throughout the movie. Aside from a tiny bit of softness, there were a couple moments where edge enhancement was visible, but very slightly. I didn't see any instances of pixelation or print flaws - not even a speckle or slight mark. Colors looked terrific throughout the movie - with the bright lights of Vegas early on and the stylish, colorful locations occasionally shown during the second half, the movie looked bright and vibrant throughout. Colors appeared well-saturated and bold, with no instances looking the least bit smeared. A terrible movie, but a terrific transfer.

SOUND: "3000 Miles To Graceland" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and, in terms of the film's sound use it's either all-out or little to nothing. The big action sequences certainly play heavily with the surrounds as the sound effects leap from both sides. Otherwise, the surrounds only occasionally wake up for the music or for some subtle, stylish sound effects.

Audio quality seemed generally fine. During a couple of scenes in the movie, dialogue seemed rather noticably low in volume, but these instances were brief and only minor complaints. Sound effects and the few ambient sounds that are occasionally sprinked in came through clearly, as did the music, which blared especially loudly during some of the scenes that were backed by heavy metal. Certainly not a bad audio presentation, but it didn't impress me that much.

MENUS:: A non-animated main menu that simply re-uses the cover art, but does have some background music.

EXTRAS: Trailer.

Final Thoughts: "3000 Miles" is certainly how far many should stay away from this horrid movie, whose only redeeming feature is a decent performance from Russell. Otherwise, the film is a boring mess of action-flick cliches. If you liked the film, you'll like the DVD - it presents the movie with fine audio/video quality (although nothing much at all in the way of extras) and can be picked up for cheap. If you're not a fan though, I'd recommend skipping this one.

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