Ahh, Las Vegas: Home of gambling, legalized prostitution, and Elvis impersonators aplenty. Oh, and robbery, guns, and deceit. “3000 Miles to Graceland” has all of this and more. If you don’t like guns, back away from the theater and go see “Hannibal.” There aren’t many guns in that one.
“3000 Miles to Graceland” hosts a number of big names, but the ones you’ll want to pay attention to are Courtney Cox (the “Scream” trilogy, TV’s “Friends”), Kevin Costner (“Dances With Wolves,” “Tin Cup”), and David Kaye. Not only are their characters believable and convincing, they are INTERESTING. A rare find in Hollywood cinema.
Russell stars as Michael, the “good guy” ex-con fresh from prison, who’s teaming up with his crazy ex-con friend Murphy (Costner) and some of his groupies (David Arquette, Christian Slater, and Bokeem Woodbine) to rob a casino during an Elvis convention. Naturally, it all goes to hell, and THAT’S when the fun begins.
Along Michael’s way to Vegas, he meets Cybil Waingrow (Cox) and her precious kleptomaniac son, Jesse (Kaye). A little bit of lovin’ goes on, and of course, they factor themselves into the intricate plot of the flick.
This movie is one helluva ride, folks. Though it drags a bit here and there, it has a great cast, a story that keeps you hooked, and guns. Lots and lots of guns. Those of you that have a passion for The King will get a kick out of the costumes, and those of you who hate Elvis will get a good laugh. Everybody wins.
While Michael is supposed to be the lead character, he’s probably the dullest. He’s relatively flat, and Russell’s lack of voice inflection does not save the character by any means. However, there is eventually a manifestation of emotion when he becomes involved with Jesse. Overall, Russell’s performance is the worst, but the movie is rescued from his subdued and boring manner with the brilliant writing, settings, and the other actors.
Thank GOD Costner has finally gotten out of the Bad Movie Slump. He’s a great actor, but it all went downhill after “Water World.” He’s redeeming himself very well in “Graceland.” Let’s just pray he keeps it up and learns how to throw the bad scripts away.
Murphy is probably the most interesting character in the movie. He’s ruthless, conniving, and obsessed with Elvis for reasons that are revealed later in the movie. He has absolutely no morals, and he’s incredibly smart, which makes him fun to watch. You’ll constantly ask yourself, “What will he do next?”
For the most part, “3000 Miles to Graceland” is fastpaced and packed with action. David Kaye’s performance is probably the most notable as Jesse, Cybil’s tough-guy son with a heart of gold. Jesse’s character is probably the most developed besides Murphy’s, and the writers do an amazing job showing what an extraordinary kid Jesse is, without going over the top and making him some kind of unbelievable child prodigy.
While Cox had a little trouble pulling off what I think was a Southern accent, her performance was otherwise remarkable. For once she’s not screaming her lungs out or hammering down lattes. It was a very refreshing change.
With other notable faces in the supporting lineup, such as Jon Lovitz, Ice-T, Kevin Pollak, and Thomas Haden Church, this movie is a must-see. If you liked “Very Bad Things,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Killing Zoe,” then this movie will be a real treat. It’s funny, bloody, and intelligent. What more do you want?