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July 2002                                                         SITE MAP   SEARCH
3000 Miles To Graceland
cast: Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox, Christian Slater, and David Arquette

director: Demien Lichtenstein

125 minutes (R) 2002
Warner DVD Region 1 rental

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Robin Landry
It's one thing to see a really bad movie, it's another to see a movie and know that it could have been great. As a concept, 3000 Miles To Graceland would have made a great movie.
   There are two men, supposedly fathered illegitimately by the King (Elvis). One is pure unrelenting evil, the other trying to be good in a bad situation. As fate would have it, these two half-brothers end up as prison cellmates and, when they get out, evil brother Thomas Murphy (Kevin Costner) sets out to introduce his hapless brother Michael Zane (Kurt Russell) to the world of really bad crime. The kind of crime where you kill everyone in sight to attain your goal and then kill all of your accomplices because you assume they're as bad as you and will kill you if given half a chance. To get really into this evil brother versus good brother, note the names, Thomas meaning twin, and Zane of course sounding like one of the most famous feuding brothers of them all. And I haven't even gotten to Cybil (Courteney Cox) and her multiple personalities (she can't make up her mind which brother to side with). Certainly the writers of this barely passable movie (Richard Recco and Demian Lichtenstein) knew about symbolism, but did they know anything about picking a theme and holding to it? Is the movie a dark comedy? Or is it one of those violent gang movies that glorify the worst in humanity? Certainly it is a romantic movie because all the women were treated like trash and deserved to be.
   What this movie could have been was a light-hearted romp with deeper meaning if you cared to look for it. What it turned out to be was a vehicle for Costner to be so utterly without conscience that you never wanted to see him again. Costner's character is a poster child for demonic possession. I fully expected the U.S. Marshals to have to run a stake through his heart to finally kill him.
   The movie begins with the gang of thieves (Russell, Christian Slater, Bokeem Woodbin and David Arquette), led by Kevin Costner, getting together out in the desert, coming up with the perfect plan to get rich quick and then rolling into town in a very cool cherry red, 1959 Cadillac. The plan is to steal from a Las Vegas casino and the method is for the five men to dress as Elvis. There's an Elvis convention going on at the time, so actually this seems like a pretty good idea, but the plan of course goes awry and soon the five thieves pull out their heavy weapons and start killing everyone in sight. Michael (Russell) manages not to kill anyone so we know he's the good brother, while Thomas seems to kill just for the fun of it, or because he's bored. Ex-football player Howie Long flies the thieves off the roof of the casino and once they're safe and have the money, the real fun starts...
   Throughout this movie there were a few bright spots. Cybil's (Courtney Cox) son Jesse (David Kaye) named for the outlaw Jesse James certainly acts like one though he is far too worldly for his age. I mean come on, how many kids can see their mother in bed with a stranger and find it blas´┐Ż? Still, Jesse added immeasurably to a movie that otherwise would have had no humanity at all. Jesse steals from everyone in a symbolic plea for a better life for himself and his mother and, in the end, finds happiness for them both.
   The two Marshals, Kevin Pollack, and Thomas Haden Church (Wings) show originality and humour, but we see so little of them it doesn't make up for the non-stop killing, and pointless brutality. This movie is rated 'R' for violence and profanity but it should be rated 'P' for pointless.
   DVD extras: cast filmographies, and a trailer.
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