By Eric Campos | July 24, 2003

Good news is, “Pledge of Allegiance” is the “Casino” of high school coming of age films. Bad news is, a “Casino” of high school coming of age films can only be incredibly lame. So…wait a minute…this cancels out the good news, doesn’t it? Yes sir, you better believe it.
“Pledge” focuses on a group of high school friends who have fashioned themselves into some sort of bullshit diaper mafia. Their clueless leader, Mac, cruises around in a black leather trench coat and black fedora, acting like such a scumbag you just want to stroll up to the screen and belt the guy one. Why would anyone want to watch this a*****e for an hour and a half?
I know why the filmmakers want you to watch – through all of his foolish shenanigans, Mac learns a very important lesson in growing up, and in turn, the audience learns one as well. It’s an “After School Special” for chrissakes. You see, being that this story takes place in Carson City, Nevada, Mac and his buddies have access to gambling, booze and hookers. They’re trying to play the role of grown adults, but they just wind up in a world of s**t instead…kinda. Mac gets tangled up with a notorious Italian mobster who persuades the wide-eyed teen to throw away his possible football career for the promise of fast and easy cash by throwing games. This also throws Mac and his chums right into the middle of a rivalry between the Italian and Indian owned casinos.
Sounds like dangerous business, doesn’t it? But remember – “After School Special.” The violence depicted in this film is totally laughable. I guess it’s kinda nice to see someone, nowadays, make a film about misguided teens without the constant presence of waving guns and dead bodies lying in the street. But the problem here is that the filmmakers went and replaced the real firearms with bows and arrows and beebee guns. Come on now. I know this is a movie, but it’s still supposed to be rooted in the real world, right? There isn’t really any danger that these characters wind up in, despite the fact that they’re dealing with some rather dangerous people. With nice bad guys like these that let high school kids walk all over them, it’s kinda hard to establish any tension. Instead, you have a John Hughes movie that just isn’t funny at all.
If you want to take a trip back in time to when you would come home from school and watch corny dramas about teens learning valuable lessons from their mistakes – here you go. If you want to watch a really intense film about misguided youth that has some balls and even real life consequences for its characters, perhaps Becoming Vex will be your cup of tea.

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