|Horrifically violent and bloody, this film takes its viewers on a two hour ride into the minds of a few very twisted screenwriters. And one cannot help but ask, why did these actors ever choose to do a picture like this? This story presents so many unsympathetic characters that it's hard to find anything to recommend about the picture. The costumes are certainly intriguing, but the story just makes a bad guy out of everybody and then tries to find a happy ending after all the carnage. Not to mention that the people weren't very likeable to begin with, even without their foibles. There are men who shoot people because of some kind of twisted honor, mothers who abandon their children, and people who think it necessary to shoot everybody in the vicinity. All in all, a good family movie.|
It's disappointing to see Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner have picked a movie with no narrative value and not a whiff of fun action movie value. This movie doesn't get the audience into the action like Lethal Weapon, which itself has lots of violence, but is redeemed with great characters. And it isn't like Speed where the bad guy has a sense of purpose and a reason for the evil things he does. 3000 Miles to Graceland takes some violent men, puts them in Elvis costumes, and lets them drive all over the United States, shooting people. There's never had a person to root for. It seems as though everybody in this film was just a bad person. There are too many guns and no compassionate people.
And since the film did not move into the territory of the absurd, as in a farce, it was impossible to take this hyper-reality seriously. In a farce, the evil could have been justified. But the filmmakers attempted to make the whole Elvis aspect a serious part of the film. It should have had some humor in it, but Kevin and Kurt were just plain mean. And so were their cohorts. Christian Slater and David Arquette play the partners in crime when the whole bunch robs one of the casinos in Las Vvegas by shooting most of the people on the ground floor after taking some big bills from the count room. Right off, all these men are in the "bad guy" category. And then, at the end, the audience is supposed to feel glad at the twisted happy ending.
Perhaps it was the presence of Courteney Cox, soon to be seen in the highly anticipated film Alien Love Triangle. With a voice like broken record and a hair stylist that should be forced to go back to the set of The Rocky Horror Picture show, Courteney really shouldn't be allowed out of her trailer. And she's supposed to be the sympathetic female lead? But the kicker for this film isn't the lack of sympathy one would have for her. It has to be that the violence perpetrated by the heroes is supposed to be okay. Bloody gun fights or not, it's not as if these men are saving women and children from evil bank robbers in the 1880's. Which, strangely enough, Kurt and Kevin have both done, when they each played Wyatt Earp in two different movies. At least Wyatt Earp was carying out his justice with a badge in his pocket. Kurt and Kevin just have it out for one another in this film and neither man deserves to make it to the finish line.
In addition to the poor characters littered throughout the screenplay, the cinematography also leaves something do be desired. While there were the usual shots of the Vegas Strip (hey, this is a Vegas movie, right?), complete with dancing neon lights and drunk gamblers, there is one scene that looks like it was shot by a freshman film student with a super 8 camera. It occurs when Costner's character meets up with a motorcycle gang on the road, while driving his classic car across the desert.
There are a few wide shots showing the disappearing sun in the twilight and the car and motorcycles barreling down the road, which all look fine. But then there are several close-ups and medium shots which are so obviously on a sound stage that for a few seconds the film looks like a musical from the 1950's, complete with fake backgrounds and fake, glowing light. It'd be one thing if the scene looked real, but this is a case of real bad filmmaking. Or a real finicky actor who didn't want to get his hair ruffled in the wind. Either way, this film is full of lemons that make you wish the money you spent seeing this film went to the concession stand. Just skip this one and save yourself the trouble.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.