Pawn. Pawn is the reason why I watch too many boring or just plain bad movies. Out of every 20 bad movies, there is one, just one, as awesome as this one. It comes at you like a freight train, just wrecking everything in front of it and it keeps going ’till it hits the end. Nerve-wracking and incredibly intense, the thing that blew me away was the script with its twists and turns. And these were clever and well-thought-out twists, worthy of a much bigger budget.
I just love these movies where one simple thing turns into a bit more complex one ultimately ending in a clusterfuck. With a story like this, the pacing is of the utmost importance and here it’s pitch-perfect. Pawn also features a complement of experienced and rugged actors who know how to do what the director asks of them and when to do it. Stephen Lang, Marton Csokas, and Forest Whitaker were all fucking great along with the star of the show Michael Chiklis. Best known as Detective Vic Mackey from the hit tv show The Shield, it was a bit strange to hear him talk with an English accent.
Nick is a car thief who just got out of prison, determined to change his life, for his and his family’s sake. His wife is pregnant, and this is the time to man up and take some responsibility. He goes to a local diner, not knowing what will happen in just a few minutes. A band of criminals led by the ruthless and charismatic Derrick, storm the diner while Nick was in the bathroom. Soon they round up all the guests, all but one who’s hiding in the bathroom. At the same time Will, a policeman stops his car in front of the diner and lights up a smoke. Then, all hell breaks loose…
What can I say, I’m a sucker for closed environment movies. And when you add an intense hostage situation to the mix, you get one hell of a movie. While we’re talking about them, it’s rare to get an interesting setting like a diner. We usually end up with banks or huge buildings if we’re talking about thrillers. Horror movies featuring people boarded-up in a house, bar, or any other location are also quite abundant.
Movies like Feast, The Mist, From Dusk Till Dawn, Pontypool, or Day of the Dead just to name a few. If you’re looking for movies similar to Pawn, I recommend you check out Albino Alligator, another great hold-up thriller. And if you’re leaning more towards comedy two classics Whole Lotta Sole and Airheads.
Pawn is a B movie wearing that badge proudly. It knows you’re going to watch it because there’s nothing else available and bides time waiting for you. And when it gets you, it doesn’t let go. With a story like this, set in a small diner, I was expecting a smaller cast. Pawn, however, goes for realism featuring everybody you would expect to be present in real life. Just at the time when you think that you know what’s going on, and who is who another twists punch you in the gut. This freight train stops for no one. With a runtime of just ninety minutes be sure to check it out. Enjoy.
Director: David A. Armstrong
Writer: Jay Anthony White
Cast: Michael Chiklis, Forest Whitaker, Marton Csokas, Common, Sean Faris, Jessica Szohr, Ray Liotta, Jonathan Bennett, Stephen Lang
Fun Facts: Ray Liotta filmed his entire part within the first 3 days.