These stories range from speed-freaks to kidnapping and murder

Despite the considerable amount of great actors involved, this film managed to remain off my radar until literally minutes before viewing it. So any expectations I had were formed in the few minutes I spent overlooking the film, that said, Pawn Shop Chronicles, in the end wasn’t quite as good as it could have been, but it certainly had it’s moments, and managed to stay entertaining. Director Wayne Kramer has more than proved his mettle in the past, writing and directing two film’s which I have fond memories of, The Cooler (2003), a film in which William H. Macy was brilliant, and Running Scared (2006), a film starring Paul Walker, who rejoins Kramer in this movies first segment. With a solid director and such a long list of talented actors, I felt this was going to be a sure thing. Then came the dialog from writer Adam Minarovich, weighing the film down like an anchor!

The film concentrates on a southern pawn shop run by Alton (Vincent D’Onofrio), in an unusual town full of unusual folks. It presents three stories, all of which are uniquely tied to the shop and framed out while Alton and his buddy Johnson (Chi McBride) hang out, business as usual. These stories range from speed-freaks to kidnapping and murder. Each tale revolves around one item bought or sold at the shop, and how they end up relating to one another in the span of one day.

Pawn Shop Chronicles
Wayne Kramer
Paul Walker, Brendan Fraser, Norman Reedus
Release Date
12 July, 2013
Influx Grade: C+

The first installment stars Kevin Rankin, Lukas Haas, Norman Reedus and Paul Walker. It’s another day in the life of a few meth-heads and there is no shortage of dark humor & hi-jinx, Walker as “Raw Dog” is a sight worth seeing, as he’s in full on “tweaker” mode, quite a reversal from the norm. The second installment shifts gears from the quirky to the horrific, starring Matt Dillon and Elijah Wood. Dillon plays Richard, a man who finds a ring in a pawn shop belonging to his missing wife, who’s been gone for six years. He literally drops everything and goes on the hunt for her, ready to dish out some sickly sweet revenge to anyone connected to the ring. If you’re a horror fan you’ll appreciate this segment the most, I know I did. The third sequence, taking into account the insane direction that the previous story went was a bit bland, with a most bizarre ending. It was all about Brendan Fraser, a burned out Elvis impersonator who faces an important decision while performing at the county fair, right around the same time that a parade of nude women, all with zombie like expressions, begin filing onto the scene.

It’s all a bizarre and disjointed film, which was trying to be something like a hillbilly version of Pulp Fiction, but failing to be anything but a mish-mash of the most strange and peculiar elements. Things do all relate to one another eventually, and it is an entertaining film, with some redeemable qualities, but the script is far from brilliant. I can’t think of any memorable lines given or anything that made me laugh out loud. While succeeding to be amusing, it didn’t go much further than that. I believe Wayne Kramer made the most out of what he had to work with, but with a script lacking in any serious wit or style, there is only so much one could do. This film will likely be forgotten before it’s even discovered my most.

Grade: C+

Review by Jim Davis, special to Influx Magazine

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