Friday, September 6, 2013

I Declare War

Early in their "Lord of the Flies" wannabe "I Declare War," directors Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson set forth the rules of War, a game for two teams of five high school kids: 1.) Each of two generals selects his team's home base, which cannot be moved. 2.) If you are shot, you must count off "ten steamboats" (or, as we called it, "ten Mississippi") before reviving. 3.) If you are hit with a grenade (which looks like a large, cranberry-red paintball), you're dead and must go home. 4.) The team whose general captures the other team's flag wins.

PK (Gage Munroe) has never lost, for good reason; his dialogue suggests he should be teaching a graduate seminar in military history. His friend Kwon (Siam Yu) is taken hostage by opposing general Quinn (Aidan Gouveia), but Quinn is mutinied by heavyset loser Piggy, er, Skinner (Michael Friend). Everything these kids say sounds age-inappropriate, because it's not them talking; it's screenwriter Lapeyre making uninteresting points about bullying, violence, and video game culture. And what in hell kind of ammunition fills the very real guns the shooters carry around? 'Cause they ain't bullets. "I Declare War" might conceivably have worked as a short film, but stretched past 90 minutes, this heaping helping of warmed-over William Golding drags and repeats itself and is often highly unpleasant to watch.

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