Wednesday, February 28, 2001

3000 Miles to Graceland

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2001 at 12:00 AM

The Elvis gang on the prowl.
  • The Elvis gang on the prowl.

Reservoir Dogs go Vegas? 3000 Miles to Graceland imitates more than Elvis. Five ex-cons, usual suspects for armed robbery, band together to take care of business, pulling off a multimillion-dollar Las Vegas casino heist during the International Elvis Convention. What better disguises than the king-sized shades and superhero costume (complete with golden brocaded cape) of the late Vegas-period Elvis?

Two-fifths of the motley crew’s uniforms are cowboy color-coded. Bad guy Murphy (Kevin Costner, 13 Days), the sociopathic brains of the operation, wears black. Michael (Kurt Russell, Soldier), a thief with a heart of gold (and the only one who refrains from racking up a body count), wears white. The remainder of the crew — loose cannon Hanson (Christian Slater, The Contender), crude jokester Gus (David Arquette, Scream 3) and trigger-happy Franklin (Bokeem Woodbine, Caught Up) — divide the primary colors (blue, red and yellow ) among them.

As the Elvises attempt to leave the casino, the going gets rougher than a Tennessee back road. Back at their motel hideout, treachery blazes from the barrel of a gun.

At this point, writer Richard Recco and writer-director Demian Lichtenstein ditch the counterfeited bones of Quentin Tarantino’s tragic heist-opera, Reservoir Dogs (1992), in the trunk of their Hollywood action vehicle and drive into black comedy. Michael ends up playing a screwballish romance with hot-to-trot waitress, part-time femme fatale Cybil (Courteney Cox-Arquette, Scream 3) and a Jerry Springer version of Shane (1953) to her sticky-fingered son, Jesse (David Kaye, Legends of the Fall). The body count rises as the surviving robbers and the mother-son felony team set off on a bungling chase for the money.

3000 Miles to Graceland is a muddled theme-park ride through scenes of action, romance and comedy played out by latter-day cowboys and Jezebels, cops and robbers. Lichtenstein’s gratuitous computer-game and music-video visuals jolt and buzz while plugging two Elvis impersonating stars — both pushing 50 — into a boy’s adrenaline and hormone-fueled fantasy of cars, guns, criminal thrills and showgirls. Maybe this is what male “menopause” looks like.

E-mail James Keith La Croix at letters@metrotimes.com.

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