Nearly two decades after its release, “Pulp Fiction” is still inspiring imitators. The latest is Wayne Kramer’s gonzo exploitation flick “Pawn Shop Chronicles,” which, like Quentin Tarantino’s movie, features interconnected stories, digressive conversations about pop culture and unrestrained violence.
The twist: It all takes place in the South — or at least the South that still proudly flies the Confederate flag and worships at the altar of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Kramer, 10 years removed from his lone critical success, “The Cooler,” and writer Adam Minarovich aren’t exactly aping Tarantino, if only because they don’t have the talent or inclination to aim that high. Their Southern-fried grindhouse movie intends to shock and, to its credit, does occasionally succeed, producing a number of surreal and perverse images that will have strong-stomached genre fans hootin’ and hollerin’ for many a late night to come.
The overlong “Pawn Shop Chronicles” features several well-known actors — Paul Walker as a revenge-seeking meth-head, Matt Dillon as a revenge-seeking husband, Brendan Fraser playing a pathetic Elvis impersonator (who eventually scores a measure of revenge too … you get the pattern) — but if they were hoping for a career resurrection a la John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction,” they’re as delusional as their characters.
Vincent D’Onofrio, playing a hard-as-nails pawn shop philosopher, fares the best, bantering with Chi McBride over the appropriateness of a black Santa Claus and other tangential topics. Others don’t fare as well, but then there’s only so much you can do with a debate on tater tots. Face it: They’re just not as tasty as a Royale with Cheese.
“Pawn Shop Chronicles”
Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual material, graphic nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Playing at: AMC Media Center 8 in Burbank and VOD.