{2jtab: Movie Review}

Pawn Shop Chronicles


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1 star

Oh, but no.  Just no.

Having no idea what to expect from a movie entitled Pawn Shop Chronicles but sporting an interesting cast, I thought I would give it a fair shake.  Unfortunately, that’s where my fairness ends.  This redneck attempt at Pulp Fiction is neither pulpy nor fictiony enough to ever be worth the time.  It’s simply a misguided effort to capitalize on the ever increasing popularity of the pawn shop with a three-story narrative that does more spinning of its wheels than a truck in heavy mud.

Owned by Alton (Vincent D’Onofrio) and inhabited by his friend Johnson (Chi McBride), the General Lee’s Pawn Shop is where three stories – The Shotgun, The Ring, The Medallion – intersect.  The stories keep the object they are named after its focus but the characters are different.  In one, Vernon (Lukas Haas), Randy (Kevin Rankin), and Raw Dog (an excellent Paul Walker), rob their meth dealer, Stanley (Norman Reedus)…with little success as their too busy double-crossing each other.

In the second story, Richard (Matt Dillon), a newly married man, arrives to pawn an engagement ring and discovers his ex-wife’s wedding ring.  Soon enough, he’s off to discover the truth of how it was pawned by the diseased mind of Johnny Shaw (Elijah Woods).  The last narrative deals with a down on his luck Elvis impersonator named Ricky (Brendan Fraser).  Never very good at playing Elvis and having the worst day of his life, Ricky enters a barbershop in need of a sideburn trim.  But which barber does he trust with his livelihood?

In spite of the actors' previous efforts and the hyper-realized violence and sleaze, nothing here makes an impact.  The narratives attempt comedy but it’s all too cartoonish to be taken as anything but amateurish at best.  While Fraser and Walker both – and surprisingly – turn in good performances, the rest of the cast offers nothing but recognizable faces for the movie to cash in on.

Director Wayne Kramer (The Cooler and Running Scared) offers little in the way of guidance here.  Too much of the film is ridiculousness for the sake of being ridiculous and, with very little meat on the bone, Pawn Shop Chronicles is just a bare offering of something that could have been enjoyable.  No substance.  No authenticity.  Just one unfunny joke.  For instance, one scene depicts Fraser badly lipsyncing to Elvis Presley’s “Amazing Grace” in front of a bevy of naked flag-draped zombie women as a meth lab – from the first story - explodes in the background.


Not even a cameo from Thomas Jane can save Pawn Shop Chronicles from being anything but wannabe Tarantino trash.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Pawn Shop Chronicles - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for violence, sexual material, graphic nudity, pervasive language and some drug use.
112 mins.
: Wayne Kramer
Writer: Adam Minarovich
Cast: Paul Walker, Norman Reedus, Elijah Wood
: Action | Comedy
One small town pawn shop. One big time wild ride.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I had to pawn my shotgun to get gas money."
Anchor Bay Films
Official Site:
Release Date: July 12, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 27, 2013

Synopsis: Three twisted tales all connected by items from a Southern small-town pawn shop. A man searching for his kidnapped wife, a couple of white-supremacist meth heads, and a sad-sack Elvis impersonator.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Pawn Shop Chronicles

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
1 star

2 stars

Blu-ray Experience
1.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 27, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region A

The 1080p transfer from Anchor Bay is decent, but not spectacular. The vivid color palette pops off the screen and the details are very clear. There are a few instances of digital noise in the transfer, and the edges aren’t as sharp as you might prefer. For a lower budgeted production, this still looks very good. No disappointments here, but nothing to rave over either.  Presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Sound, the audio is relatively flat and lifeless.  The dialogue is never at a consistent volume and the soundtrack is all over the place.



  • None

Special Features:


{2jtab: Trailer}