3000 Miles to Graceland
It's a whole new Millennium, and moral relativity in the movies reaches its nadir in 3000 Miles to Graceland, the heist caper cum road film originally released in February of 2001, and now enjoying distribution on DVD from Warner Home Video. 3KM2G makes the utterly ludicrous case that it's OK to be a thief as long as you don't actually murder anyone during the act. Thus, Michael Zane (Kurt Russell), who hooks up with old crew member Thomas J. Murphy (Kevin Costner) and a few others to take down a casino in Vegas, is presented as the only redeemable crook of the lot, and is spared violence and the long arm of the law because he doesn't kill any of the multitude of guards and pain-in-the-ass innocent bystanders in the casino's gaming room during the robbery. He even helps a single mom named Cybil (Courtney Cox) and her kid. That the mom, too, is mostly a crook, and the son a vile, gender-ambiguous annoyance, taxes the audience's patience more than Zane's. The movie completely bogs down after the heist and upon the intrusion of the mom, but that is more a factor of the film's repetitiousness and predictability than the consequence of grappling with the altered (or degraded) moral universe it portrays. If a movie starring both Costner and Russell had come out 10 years ago it would have been a hit regardless of its content, but 3KM2G, with its content-free dialogue and aimless story, does not make the now-weatherbeaten action stars look or sound much better. The movie's high-concept premise is the visual gag of the gang (which includes Christian Slater and David Arquette) disguising itself as Elvis impersonators, even down to the black guy (though you know from the actor's status and the plot machinations that he is going to be the first one to die). Since The Wild Bunch, gangs walking off to action have always made for powerful visual moments, and this sequence, along with the animated credits featuring computer-game scorpions fighting, are the best parts of the movie, but they also promise more than the film delivers. Directed by music video expert Demian Lichtenstein from a script credited to himself and Brooklyn electrician Richard Recco, 3KM2G is also further evidence that we are now living in the age of the producer. This film, released by Elie Samaha's Franchise Pictures, is virtually indistinguishable from previous Franchise movies, especially the company's remake of Get Carter. The rather good cinematography for that film by Mauro Fiore is replicated almost exactly by David Franco (both are regular Franchise DPs). They and the editors help Samaha mimic his mentor, Jerry Bruckheimer, in supplanting the director as the auteur in favor of the impossibly productive producer. None of these points makes the film worth seeing, however, and few bothered; the $62 million production earned about $15 million in the U.S. Warner's DVD offers a clean anamoprhic transfer (2.35:1) with DD 5.1 audio. Extras consist of the theatrical trailer and cast and crew bios. Snap-case.