thatcow

Why? Just tell me why?

So-called "High Concept" films are the rage of the studios these days. If you can't boil down a movie to one sentence, it's much less likely to be made. Fortunately for 3000 Miles to Graceland, whose single sentence description would be "Elvis Impersonators Rob a Las Vegas Casino", they dispense with the requisite scenes early on and then the movie gets to breathe... a little.

There are five people who rob the casino (six if you count the helicopter pilot, but his hands appear to be considered clean by the movie), but all but two of them are dispatched fairly quickly. Our two hardy stalwarts? Kevin Costner as the evil, gets-what-he-wants Elvis (and near Al Davis look-alike), and Kurt Russell as the good, even though he's an ex-con and robs casinos, Elvis. Throw in an equally morally ambivalent Courtney Cox as a somewhat love interest, and her bratty but strangely competent kid.

These four then spend the rest of the movie stealing the money and basically playing tricks on each other. And that's really it. There's little depth of character, though they try to make the love interest bit make a difference, but it pretty much fails but for a couple brief moments.

I think the biggest clue of what the movie's about comes in the opening credits. Two computer generated scorpions fight each other in the desert as flashy titles fly by. The fight is unnatural. The titles are overdone. And the music is trying to get our blood pumping, but is too transparent to cause a single palpitation.

The opening is echoed in the actual robbery itself. Plenty of flash, gunfire, death and mayhem, but it fails to illuminate anything. The characters are simply machines here, barely more than the computer generated scorpions. Sure, there was a fair amount of production value here, but we need a reason to be watching in the first place, before such values matter.

As it turns out, the money that was robbed is considered useless - because it is supposedly marked. I never felt that was properly explained, but it enables a long road-movie middle for the characters to work their way through, as they race each other to a money launderer in Idaho.

Each step is plotted out sufficiently, sometimes even quite cleverly. Even the characters are interesting to watch at times. I just never started caring about what happened to them.

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