3000 Miles to Graceland (this title comes from a line of dialogue from one of the U.S. Marshals in the movie) has a great cast and some good direction, but still produces average action entertainment for audiences. This movie walks the line between reality and superficiality throughout its two hour and four minute running time. From a scorpion fight in the desert to an unbelievable robbery, these issues of logistics and believability may be a problem for some viewers. Though the most exciting action sequence in the movie, the robbery hurts credibility. It’s hard enough to make five ex-cons look dangerous in Elvis costumes, but the actual robbery itself would be impossible to pull off given the location and methods used.
Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner play ex-cons Michael Zane and Murphy, respectively, who seek and find trouble and redemption in Las Vegas, Nevada. Russell overstates his facial expressions, but does a credible job depicting some redeeming qualities in Michael’s character. Costner puts in a slightly better performance as yet another harsh character that goes against his generally romantic Hollywood persona. Costner also helped edit the movie (uncredited).
The lovely Courtney Cox Arquette plays Cybil Waingrow, a local lady who uniquely factors into the ex-cons’ exploits. She puts in a credible performance as a dynamic character who must deal with issues of trust and her basic need for love throughout the story. David Kaye (Legends of the Fall) has a convincing performance as Cybil’s son, Jesse, whose often coincidental presence helps the main characters realize what they really hope to achieve in their lives and what they will fight for.
It’s no secret that Michael, Murphy and their gang including Franklin, played by Bokeem Woodbine (Dead Presidents), Gus, David Arquette (Scream) seemingly in a token role just because his wife happens to be in the movie too, and Hanson, played by Christian Slater (Broken Arrow) plan to commit some serious crimes. Kevin Pollak (Usual Suspects) and Thomas Hayden Church (TV’s Wings) represent the law enforcement characters as U.S. Marshals involved in several instances of these crimes. SNL alum Jon Lovitz, rapper Ice-T and Fox NFL TV show host Howie Long also factor in as characters with small, but important roles in the story.
Director Demian Lichenstein seemingly wants to prove his formidable skills with several camera techniques and solid support from cinematographer David Franco (Whole Nine Yards) gives the audience vibrant images though you definitely know when some of the scene backgrounds are fake.
The extensive, high powered soundtrack was well planned and includes “Follow Me” by Uncle Kracker which eventually became a big hit on the music charts after this movie was released in theaters. Other songs include musical performances by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Stevie Ray Vaughn, George Thorogood, Crystal Method, Filter and of course Elvis Presley.
If you can look past the logistical issues, you’ll enjoy this movie much better. Catch the ending credits for a lip-synched video of the stars to Elvis Presley’s “Such a Night.” Recommended with reservations (**1/2 out of four stars) and rated R for violence, language and sexuality.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler