There are tons of movies coming straight to video with all-star ensemble casts these days as opposed to getting theatrical releases. More often than not it is pretty obvious why, but others are just so out there they probably wouldn’t connect with the average viewer, but still make for some great entertainment. The latest Pawn Shop Chronicles plays more like an anthology film that connects together and features a great cast including Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Vincent D’Onofrio, Norman Reedus, Chi McBride, Elijah Wood, DJ Qualls, Lukas Haas, and Ashlee Simpson, but does it have the structure needed to bring a film like this together?
Pawn Shop Chronicles follows a wide variety of wild characters including meth addicts, skinheads, a psychopath and an Elvis impersonator all linked together by a missing wedding ring. This movie delivers everything needed for a great anthology all wrapped in a redneck rebel flag with a pinch of Pulp Fiction for good measure. The first standout thing in this film is the characters themselves each more crazy and memorable than the next. Everyone delivers some great and over the top performances that mesh perfectly to bring each of these crazy stories together. Most of the cast play smaller cameo type roles with just a few of them leading the main charge. Each story is cleverly crafted so that they tell their unique story, but intertwine perfectly to bring it all back together at the end. When doing these kinds of films it is imperative to have moments where the stories crossover and here they do it with subtle but obvious to make for an even better overall film. The camera work is great on this film with it being gritty and dirty, as well as using some various styles to add to the finished product. All of the stories here are great, but the real standout involves Matt Dillon and Elijah Wood that not only sports a great story and performances, but some disturbing visuals that step this film up to a new level.
Just as important as the overall story is the way these anthologies come together and here it’s done perfectly. Not only does it make for a complete film, but it brings everything full circle in a fun way and ridiculous way. If you are a fan of Tarantino’s style and wacked out characters thrust into a meth fueled world of insanity then you will love Pawn Shop Chronicles.