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Michael Zane (Russell) and four other criminals; Thomas J. Murphy (Costner), Hanson (Christian Slater), Gus (David Arquette), and Franklin (Bokeem Woodbine); execute a heist in which they steal $3.2 million from the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas by dressing up as Elvis impersonators whilst the casino hosts International Elvis Week, thereby making it difficult to identify them since hundreds of people in the building would be dressed in the same manner. The heist is successful, but when Franklin is killed, a dispute occurs over how his share should be divided among the survivors. It isn't long before it's just Michael and Murphy; with the latter pursuing the former across the United States as he flees both with the money and with a woman named Cybil Waingrow (Cox), with whom he has fallen in love, and her son Jesse.
The film clearly attempts to emulate the style of Quentin Tarantino. Whether it succeeds in this regard or not is up to you, though the general critical consensus, if the film's rating of 13% on Rotten Tomatoes is anything to go by, is that it does not.
Prior to the film's opening, Warner Bros. released a series of animated prequels voiced by stars Costner, Slater, Long and Woodbine. The Road to Graceland prequels marked the first time a major film's cast members contributed their talents to the creation of original Internet content for a film website.
This film provides examples of:
- Black Dude Dies First: So blatant that even Roger Ebert in his review couldn't hide his disdain for the movie invoking it.
- Bling Bling Bang: Michael's "golden rule" is "fuck gold: whoever has the nickel-plated pistol makes the rules."
- Conspicuous CG: The opening fight scene with Scorpions.
- Elvis Impersonator
- Guns Akimbo
- Ms. Fanservice: Courteney Cox
- No Honor Among Thieves: What basically sets the film's story in motion.
- Rule of Cool: Tries to invoke this with hyperactive cutting and an attempt at Rated "M" for Manly, but the consensus is that it fails.
- Scary Scorpions
- Smoking Is Cool: The two Federal Marshals trying to catch the casino robbers always light cigarettes after they walk out of a building. Except the sidekick Marshal is always having to fuss with his lighter before it'll light. Finally, towards the end of the movie, the main cop (Quigley) lights his cigarette for him:
Federal Marshal Quigley: "Either quit smoking or get a new lighter."
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The casino shootout that results from security trying to stop the heist is set to and intercut with an Elvis impersonator performance.