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3000 Miles To Graceland Review

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Improbable thriller in which a bunch of ex-cons, led by Kurt Russell, dress up as Elvis impersonators to rob a Vegas casino. But things go wrong when a psychotic member of the gang (Kevin Costner) double-crosses them, leaving Russell and his girlfriend (Courteney Cox) to go on the run...

★★★★

Shot before Steven Soderbergh made Vegas cool again, 3000 Miles To Graceland opens with a similar premise to Ocean's 11 - a daring casino robbery perpetrated by a bickering mob of ex-cons (this time during an Elvis-impersonator convention), with a love interest complicating the getaway.

The fact that this crew reads like Soderbergh's B-list - Kurt Russell Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox - is not enough to explain the caper's straight-to-DVD fate. In fact, on paper it's a perfect weekend rental. Okay, it's not gonna be a masterpiece, but it's got Costner and the once-mighty Russell, plus cameos from Christian Slater and the reliable Kevin Pollak. Throw in a few cans of beer and the question becomes, "How bad can it be?" The answer is, "Really, really bad...."

Five minutes in, and the movie is in serious trouble. Director Demian Lichtenstein - whose name is more interesting than his movie - mounts the first exercise in what might be called 'empty style' - if his musical montages had any style to speak of. For a music video veteran, he can't cut, he overcranks when he should undercrank, and he has a lousy taste in music: anonymous industrial rock anyone?

After a while, you almost start to feel for the actors - poor Costner must have thought his smirking psychopath was a brave career choice - but they cannot duck the blame. Pointless quirks do not an endearing character make. The only wise ones are those who die early.

Saddled by a lame-duck director, this could have been a guilty pleasure classic, but Russell's return to the Elvis fold (he played the King in John Carpenter's excellent biopic) won't leave you all shook up.