Friday, September 2, 2016

Movie Review: Pawn Shop Chronicles

Pawn Shop Chronicles a.k.a Hustlers a.k.a Pawn War Chronicles a.k.a  Gangster Chronicles a.k.a Stealers
Anchor Bay Films, Mimran Schur Pictures, Suretone Pictures, 120dB Films, Upload Films, Louisiana Media Productions, Laguna Ridge Pictures, PSC Productions, USA, 2013.
Pawn Shop Chronicles title
I like Pawn Shop reality shows. Sometimes they have interesting trivia about historical items and are educational about value of old stuff. "Pawn Shop Chronicles" is nothing like that though but an anthology of darkly humorous crime stories.

The film's frame story is about a pawn shop in American South. In the shop Alton (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Johnson (Chi McBride) debate about having a Santa Claus in front of their shop and why there isn't black Charlie Brown. Various people come to pawn items that have some meaning to the stories. Alton is also harassed by a big black truck that appears throughout the stories.
Vincent D'Onofrio
Chi McBride
In the first story "The Shotgun - the Road to White Gold" redneck junkies Raw Dog (Paul Walker in his last finished role), Vernon (Lukas Haas) and Randy (Kevin Rankin) are planning to rob a meth-lab but Vernon pawns their shotgun. On the way to get guns their drug-fueled misadventures go terribly wrong.
Kevin Rankin and Paul Walker
Randy and Raw Dog
In the second story "The Ring - Caged Love" a newlywed couple comes to pawn their ring, and Richard (Matt Dillon) finds the wedding ring of his disappeared first wife. The honeymoon is canceled as Richard goes to violent quest to find her wife. The shocking truth can be found in the farm of Johnny Shaw (Elijah Wood in another disturbing role).
Matt Dillon
Richard needs information
In the third story "The Medallion - Split Ends at the Cross Roads" a lousy Elvis impersonator Ricky (Brendan Fraser) is performing in the crazy town and sells his soul to the Devil to gain fame.
Brendan Fraser
This is a strange film. On the surface it is a "Pulp Fiction" clone with "Creepshow" style comic book introductions. On the other hand it is a grotesque John Waters style Americana morality tale about people who make wrong decisions because of anger, convenience, status or greed. The barbershop choosing scene is great and satirizes the negligibly different choices that may label you for the rest of your life. Also the shallowness of Raw Dog and Randy was proven when they discussed how they became racists only because there were good meatballs in the KKK meetings. The stories vary wildly starting with the manic first part, slipping to gorno in the second part and going to black comedy in the third part. Although the stories are tied together cleverly it begins to lose its edge and the ending lacks something to make it feel like having a point. It is somewhat entertaining, sick and funny but not quite as good as it could be. 

Rating: Good

Starring: Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Kevin Rankin, Vincent D'Onofrio, Norman Reedus, Chi McBride, Elijah Wood, DJ Qualls, Pell James, Lukas Haas, Sam Hennings, Ashlee Simpson, Michael Cudlitz, Thomas Jane, Matt O'Leary, Kaitlin Ferrell, Bernard Hocke, Marc Macaulay, Adam Minarovich, John Wilmot, Carl Anthony Nespoli, Jeff Brockton, Detroit Brooks, Michael Papajohn, Patrick Weathers, Juli Erickson, Ouida White, Shanna Marie Burris, Nicole Lovince, Carmen Barika, Grant James, Mark Povinelli, Amy Brassette, Jack Adosta, Jimmy Lee Jr., Rachelle Lefevre, Jackie Bridges, Stephanie Preston, Steffie Grote, Dayna Smith, Gaella Forget, Bailey Ancona, Angela Schever, Codie Rimmer, Anna Hurst, Fallon Hover, Mckenzie Ortego, Donna Gaillot, Angela Pukett, Jen Leblanc, Elizabeth Raigan, Claire Frederiksen, Amanda Rose Batz, Christina Joliceuor, Kim Hebert, Brandy Caine, Chris Angerdina, Camille Blouin, Alesia Burt, Joseph Randy Causin, Edward J. Clare, Alexandra Goel, Emily D. Haley, Jeffery Nowell, Katherine Jeanie Russell, Bret Slife, Seannon Stracener, Glen Warner 
Director: Wayne Kramer

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