Case Number 01293


Warner Bros. // 2001 // 125 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // August 7th, 2001

The Charge


Opening Statement

Phil Collins once crooned a song titled "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven." That might have been a very apt title for 3000 Miles To Graceland. Like the best of intentions, 3000 Miles To Graceland must have gone erratically astray sometime during its production. You'll be hard pressed to find a more mish-mashed film filled with strange imagery, weird characters, and odd musical numbers. It's as if this movie were passed on from maker to maker until it came out in the final product now available from Warner on DVD. With an eclectic cast including Kevin Costner (Waterworld), Kurt Russell (Escape From L.A.), Jon Lovitz (National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1), Christian Slater (Very Bad Things), David Arquette (See Spot Run), Courtney Cox (Scream 3), Howie Long (those damn "Radio Shack" commercials), Ice-T (Leprechaun in the 'Hood) and Kevin Pollak (Canadian Bacon), 3000 Miles To Graceland is a strange trip indeed.

Facts of the Case

What could be better than stealing $3.2 million in cash from a local Vegas casino? Doing it when there's an Elvis revue going on, of course!

Five ex-cons have decided to ransack a casino dressed as "The King." The gang consists of their mean-spirited leader Thomas J. Murphy (Costner), the goofy Gus (Arquette), the tense Hanson (Slater), and the brutish Franklin (Bokeem Woodbine). They meet up with Michael Zane (Kurt Russell), an ex-con who is a bit more level headed than his pals. The five men hit the casino with all they've got and make their getaway in a helicopter piloted by Howie Long.

While counting their cash at a local motel, things start to unravel. Tempers flare, words are spouted, and guns are pulled. Through a series of unlikely events, people are killed, backs are stabbed, and the money is taken on the run. Even Zane's new "girlfriend" (Cox) and her eight-year-old son get in on the action. It's soon obvious that Costner is the bad guy and Russell the good guy, and it's a cat and mouse game to retrieve the stolen loot all across the desert plains.

The Evidence

Though there are major problems with 3000 Miles To Graceland, it has a few tricks up its sleeves to warrant a viewing. Where else can you see such megastars as Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell and Christian Slater sporting bouffant coifs, shaggy sideburns and sequined jackets? The first quarter of the film seems devoted to seeing all these men decked out to the tacky nines. At the end we even get a music video rolling over the credits featuring Russell singing along to an Elvis tune as Costner poses and looks C-O-O-L.

The opening robbery sequence is executed well (pun intended), featuring gunfire that tears up blackjack tables, slot machines and every security guard in the immediate vicinity. In fact, 3000 Miles To Graceland is not violent because it needs to be, nor because it wants to be. 3000 Miles To Graceland is violent just because it CAN be. Few movies give you sheer bloodlust just for kicks and giggles; 3000 Miles To Graceland is a major exception.

As a bonus, this movie also includes David Arquette telling obnoxious jokes. Example: "What's the best thing about dating a homeless girl? You can drop them off anywhere!" Har-har-har.

3000 Miles To Graceland is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Since this is a new title, it's not surprising how good the quality of the transfer is. Warner has done a very good job bringing 3000 Miles To Graceland to DVD in pristine condition. Colors and flesh tones were natural and bright, blacks solid and dark. There was no grain, no dirt, and no digital artifacting spotted. Though a small amount of edge enhancement shows up in spots it never becomes intrusive. The movie includes many scenes that are shot MTV style with obtuse colors and strange filters. Don't adjust your TV sets folks, its all part of movie.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (English and French). Overall, this is a nice surround track, though it tends to be a bit uneven. Music is often pumped through the speakers at loud volumes while other scenes are played a tad bit lower than expected. The best of this track can be found in the first half hour during the casino heist scene. Just listen to that gunfire zing around you like you were hiding behind a slot machine yourself! Dialogue, music and effects were all mixed well with no distortion present. English and French subtitles are included.

There were rumblings that an audio commentary or deleted scenes might be included on this edition of 3000 Miles To Graceland. Unfortunately, the only thing we're given is an anamorphic theatrical trailer (which is much better than the film), as well as some cast and crew information.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Everything I expected 3000 Miles To Graceland to do and be happened in the first twenty minutes. After that time, 3000 Miles To Graceland turned around, excused itself from the table and headed in a completely different direction. I made the naïve assumption that 3000 Miles To Graceland was going to be an action flick filled with a few hours worth of mindless action. Somewhere along the way, I was apparently misguided. I'm blaming this on the trailer (which was done so well that I was actually excited to see this movie). Instead, 3000 Miles To Graceland becomes a thriller/comedy/action road picture. Like a schizophrenic, 3000 Miles To Graceland just doesn't know who, or what, it is.

The beginning starts out with promise featuring the successful robbery of a large Las Vegas casino during an Elvis convention. There are lots of bullets, blood, and hairy sideburns. After fifteen minutes of this I thought, "Hey, this might end up as a good flick if they can sustain this amount of action." Alas, that was not meant to be. After the robbery ends the film decides to jump ship into another genre. Then, a half hour later, it does the very same thing. Some movies are able to make this exchange in tone with successful results. Though not my favorite film, From Dusk 'Till Dawn flip-flopped from being a Pulp Fictionish drama into a gory vampire movie rather nicely. 3000 Miles To Graceland just can't pull it off.

3000 Miles To Graceland suffers hardest from a wasted supporting cast. It's been quite a while since I've seen such a hefty talent load in one film. Costner, Russell and Cox appear center stage, while everyone else appears and disappears like farts floating near an industrial fan. Jon Lovitz is funny but wasted. Ice-T, one of the best actors to come out of the rap scene, is onscreen for what seems like forty-eight seconds and then is whisked away. Why did all these actors accept these parts? I'm guessing they thought the script was great. I am also guessing they read a completely different version than what finally ended up on screen.

Another speed bump 3000 Miles To Graceland runs into is its deceptive genre. I was thinking I'd be getting, if anything, rumbling action. 3000 Miles To Graceland is instead more a thriller than an adventure ride. There are spots where there's some gunfire or explosions, though at over two hours they are few and far between. If only everyone on this movie would have made up their minds 3000 Miles To Graceland could have been a slam-bang action ride. As it is 3000 Miles To Graceland just barely gets by on fumes.

Closing Statement

3000 Miles To Graceland is like nothing you've ever seen before. Actually, I take that back; 3000 Miles To Graceland IS like everything you've seen before, just in an oddly different way. Warner has done a fine job with the audio and the video portions of this disc, though the extra material leaves much to be desired. 3000 Miles To Graceland is worth your time if you're into Kevin Costner, Elvis Presley or really big hair.

The Verdict

3000 Miles To Graceland is guilty of many travesties, though a lack of Elvis impersonators is not one of them.

Goodnight folks, Patrick has left the building!

Review content copyright © 2001 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 96
Audio: 92
Extras: 30
Acting: 78
Story: 65
Judgment: 66

Perp Profile
Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)

* English
* French

Running Time: 125 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Theatrical Trailer
* Cast and Crew Information

* IMDb

* Graceland Official Site