The Tarantino effect is very much in evidence in 3000Miles To Graceland, a trashy, excessively violent action movie about a casinoheist that goes hilariously and uproariously awry.
Using the iconic Elvis Presley and his ostentatiousattire as a conceit, the yarn is set against the background of the glitzy,high-energy chaos surrounding an International Elvis Week in Las Vegas, where aband of Elvis impersonators carry heavy weaponry in their guitar cases.
Toplined by Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell as theband's rival masterminds and displaying some elaborately engineered action setpieces, the picture will have a decent opening, but the unappealing title,R-rating and sleazy gore should signal mid-range box-office.
Five ex-cons, who dub themselves the Elvi5, strollinto the Riviera Casino, costumed in Elvis jumpsuits and tinted glasses. It'simmediately noticeable that only one of them, Murphy (Costner), the heist'sringleader, wears the iconic sideburns with conviction; every minor allusion to'the King' leads to explosive behaviour. Claiming that he's the King'sillegitimate son, Murphy is resentful for not being recognised as such. It's alove/hate relationship, with Elvis functioning as a lifelong sore spot.
Leaving the hotel in ruins, the crooked bunch steal$3.2m, making off in a rooftop escape via helicopter, courtesy of pilot Jack(football star Howie Long).
The group dynamics are based on familiarity: Murphyand Michael (Russell) are former cellmates. Five years of shared prison timehave provided them with enough personal information to predict each other'smoves. This knowledge is put to test in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse,when, instead of dividing up the loot, Murphy betrays his associates by hidingthe stash and trying to kill them. Surviving the treachery, Michael beatsMurphy to the hidden loot and sets out to launder the marked currency with thehelp of Jay (Jon Lovitz), an antique dealer who doubles as a money launderer.
Each man gains and loses the upper hand at varyingmoments. Their chases, with Michael driving a beat-up Plymouth Valiant andMurphy trailing ruthlessly in a cherry-red 59 Caddy convertible, escalate to anexplosive finale in the remote Pacific Northwest. Some dark humour is providedalong the way by exchanges of macho braggadocio between the duo, as well as bythe portrait of two inept lawmen (Kevin Pollak and Thomas Hayden Church), who seemalways to be one step behind.
3000 Miles is thekind of sleazy picture in which the heroes compete with each other and aredifferentiated by their degree of badness. While both leaders are corruptlosers, Murphy is a mercenary sociopath with no redeeming attributes, whereasMichael is a criminal who suddenly discovers his heart and his conscience.Bringing what's left of his tarnished humanity to the surface are Cybil(Courteney Cox), a sexy grifter with small-town baggage and big-time dreams,and Jesse (David Kaye), her precocious son, a wannabe criminal in desperateneed of a father figure.
In its seedy, pulpish style and nastily profanedialogue, 3000 Miles is a cheap imitator of Tarantino's films, with atouch of True Romance (which Tarantino wrote and Tony Scott directed)thrown into the mix. In its gun-blazing mayhem, lurid pyrotechnics and fancystunt work, the movie is a pale copy of John Woo's action-