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Movie review: ‘Pawn Shop Chronicles’

Posted 10:41pm on Thursday, Jul. 11, 2013

R (violence, sexual material, graphic nudity, pervasive language and drug use); 112 min.

A “redneck Pulp Fiction” is such a natural idea for a grindhouse movie that it’s shocking that it took almost 20 years for somebody to come up with Pawn Shop Chronicles.

It’s got pick-em-up trucks and huntin’ bows, meth heads and an Elvis impersonator. Matt Dillon goes nuts hunting whoever kidnapped his wife years before, Paul Walker attempts a Lynyrd Skynyrd Southern drawl and Brendan Fraser puts on an Elvis suit and tries to get a haircut fit for the King.

But stringing all that together is easier said than done. And for sheer ugliness, you’d be hard-pressed to top the torture-porn sequence that actor-turned-writer Adam Minarovich and once-promising director Wayne ( The Cooler) Kramer shove in, stopping their violent yahoo comedy dead in its tracks.

Vincent D’Onofrio and Chi McBride are resident sages in the General Lee Pawn Shop.

Vernon (Lukas Haas) shows up to pawn his shotgun. But it turns out Vernon and his highly-strung/strung-out pals (Walker and Norman Reedus) need that gun to rob their favorite methamphetamine cook. Newlywed Dillon sees his late wife’s custom-made ring in the pawnshop. He ditches his new bride and tears through this village of Greater Irwin to find out who had it and what happened to her.

And then the down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator (Fraser) tumbles into the town’s blood feud over barbershops.

Pawn Shop Chronicles has plenty of random riffs and cameos. It’s coherent enough, but entirely too long and unpleasant when it could have been one brutishly edgy hoot after another. Somebody should attempt a smarter take on this idea, because this version isn’t worth getting out of hock.

Exclusive: AMC Grapevine Mills

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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