Pawn stars Michael Chiklis, Ray Liotta and Forest Whitaker in a crime drama that keeps you guessing right to the end but not in a good way.
Film making 2/5
Bonus Features 1/5
Recommendation 3/5 Stars
What starts as a common enough robbery of an all-night diner turns into a confusing mess with mobs and bad cops at the heart of this drama. Pawn starts with a confusing look at a robbery where Forest Whitaker puts two and two together and imagines what would happen if he straight out pulled his gun in the middle of the diner.
This repeat look at events happens a couple of times which just confuses the issues and makes you not wonder what really happens but why they are looking at things play out differently in the first place. We also get a look back at some events to see what transpired up to the point of the robbery but this does not really clear the air enough.
Pawn may keep audiences on the edge of their seats with drama but it does keep them guessing what is going to happen next because of the scattered plot. The beginning scene may have been a what could be moment but they do this a few times and you get the idea that the director or writer did not start with a clear picture.
Spoiler alert but the film is not worth watching so I don’t think it matters much, the diner is a front for the mob and a certain cop wants a hard drive that has dirty cops listed on it. The robbery was supposed to get the drive and cash that was in a safe but the events played out differently than expected and a hostage negotiation winds up the robbery.
Dirty cops and mob bosses working behind the scenes make for great drama if told the right way but Pawn just makes a mess of the story from the start with the repeated scenes. The dirty cops in Pawn think they are smarter than the good ones and the bad guys, a.k.a. mobsters, think they can get away with anything but in the end the only ones who are really hurt is the audience for having to watch this mess of a movie.
Pawn is just not worth a rental as the film is confusing most of the time but in the end just does not have enough clear cut drama to make it enjoyable. Video and audio quality are probably the only savers of the movie and the only reason it gets an average rating when finally figured out.
Pawn is shot in pretty good digital film with a decent enough Blu-ray transfer but due to a low budget we get a simple transfer without much in the way of cleanup. The film looks just fine and the transfer looks good due to the source material but it does include a few problems here and there that could probably been cleared up in processing.
Audio is also pretty good but not top notch with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track which sounds just fine but a few problems creep in here and there. At one point in the film static was obvious that made me look to my back speakers for a second but this only happened once while the straight forward voice was just fine throughout the movie.
Both audio and video are much better than the plot which is a shame but not surprising given this film skipped theatres and went direct to store shelves. Sometimes direct to video films can be worthwhile but not here even with a good actor list you still need better direction and plot which are missing.
I hate making of features that simply try to convince viewers what a great film they just made by restating the great actors or directors of the project. One of the actors simply sits and says to the camera what great actors are in the movie over and over but direction and plot go out the window.
There is only one bonus feature on the Blu-ray disc and it only restates what we already know but in reverse with a good acting list but poor direction and plot. It’s no wonder that Pawn went straight to DVD and Blu-ray to skip the potential money making at the box office with its top actors but lack of good story and direction.
I would recommend renting this if you’re interested and leave Pawn to the direct to video dungeon because it just does not excite enough to warrant more money from the audience.