Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Retro Review: Lost Boys - The Tribe

 (editor's note: The Cap'n realized there was a series of Blogorium posts from 2008 that never made the transition from our old stomping grounds to the new one. As a result, it seemed like a good idea to share some other reviews that had been otherwise "lost" over the past four years).

Insert Joke about Vampire Film "sucking"

In ten years, nobody's going to be defending Lost Boys: The Tribe. No one is going to be watching it again, for one thing, but even if some curious teenager decides to double feature the first and second film (we'll get to the possibility of the third film further down), odds are they'll find The Lost Boys far more compelling then its anemic sequel.

    Lost Boys: The Tribe works very hard to mimic the structure of the original, down to recreating classic moments from the first film. The big problem is that none of it is very interesting. It turns out that if you try to retain the atmosphere of a film from the 1980s but remove all of the wardrobe, music, and cheesy haircuts, things don't work. Rap metal and excessive profanity don't actually qualify as "updating" the world of Santa Carla.

    The cast is uniformly bland,  which kills any interest in the vampires. In The Lost Boys, Keifer Sutherland was so much more interesting than Jason Patric that you wanted to see them drag him into the night. In The Tribe, all of the vampires are surfers who say "fuck" and "dude" a whole lot and like to stab each other because they can't die. And videotape it.

    The leads are vanilla, at best. Going by the names, I guess they're supposed to be loosely related to Corey Haim and Jason Patric's Emerson family, although that's never addressed in any way. They have a "kooky" aunt that's meant to fill in for the mother and crazy grandpa, which results in the worst callback to the original film at the end.

    Corey Feldman, who really ought to be the one thing this film has going for it, is a total bust and he can't help it. Feldman's voice aged a lot faster than the rest of him, so Edgar Frog sounds like a fifty year old in the body of a twenty something. In The Lost Boys, it was kind of clever that someone as young as the Frog Brothers could be experts on killing vampires, but when you add twenty years, it's just kind of stupid. Ideally you should push this world further down the line and have someone like Nick Nolte playing a much older Edgar Frog (ala Kris Kristofferson in Blade). Feldog just don't have the heft to pull it of.

    I never thought I'd say this, but director P.J. Pesce is no Joel Schumacher. There's zero visual flair in this movie, unless you count borrowing shots from the original, and even those look more like ripoffs. The script by Hans Rodionoff, when not speeding its way through the plot of the first film (the transformation from human to vampire is no longer a gradual thing but instead happens over the course of a few hours) is busy making unnecessary pop culture references. The Goonies one I was willing to ignore, but the extended Big Lebowski name dropping really irked me.

    Oh, and there's the pointless opening with Tom Savini who agreed to be in the film as long as he only had to work one night. Look for a really weak retread of his From Dusk Til Dawn character at the beginning of the film.

    Ultimately, there's not a lot of reason to watch Lost Boys: The Tribe. While I don't remember seeing The Lost Boys when it came out (I would've been eight), I did watch it on home video six and seven years later and throughout high school. Even removed from the 1980s, it was still an entertaining movie with "kid" protagonists, Mouth from The Goonies, Bill from Bill and Ted, the old man from Tron, and that strange cover of "People are Strange". As I got older, I came to appreciate Edward Herrmann, Dianne Wiest and Kiefer Sutherland. And the fact that despite being the idiot who made Batman Forever AND Batman and Robin, Joel Schumacher had once upon a time made a decent movie or two.

    Lost Boys: The Tribe has none of that going for it. I don't think I'll be watching it again. I find it hard to imagine there'd be a nostalgia for this particular era, so it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to revisit the "aughts" with this film.

Spoiler-ish Alert, if anyone was still thinking of watching this.

    Finally, let's discuss the actual ending; not the one where they kill the head vampire surfer moron, but the one during the credits where Corey Haim's name inexplicably appears right before Corey Feldman's. Normally, that'd be a "what the fuck?" moment, but since the music fades out, we can guess there's something coming.

    Sure enough, Edgar Frog is sitting under a lone spot light talking into the darkness, saying things like "cut the theatrics! I know you're there." Then we see a shadowy Corey Haim, looking much worse for the wear (nearly unrecognizable to be honest). They hint at some kind of history between the first Lost Boys film and The Tribe, and then they say some really cheesy stuff and attack each other. Cut back to the credits.

    Alternate endings on the dvd carry this thread further, but suggest that Edgar Frog's brother Alan (Jamison Newlander) is now a "Master" vampire and is coming back to exact his revenge on the Coreys. Either way, we're being promised a third Lost Boys movie that has all the makings of being MUCH worse than The Tribe. Tell you what, gang; go find Jason Patric and get him involved, because if you're going to pursue a continuation of the original film using people willing to come back, then you might as well grab him too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh yes...truly awesome.

I've been twirling a blog posting around in my head for awhile, but just can't find a way to put into words how I feel...because there's so much.

I'm not a die-hard of the first film, but it's passable entertainment.

This thing plays like an alternate dimension 'Lost Boys,' with an Emerson family moving in with a kooky relative, and one of them joining up with a head vampire played by a Sutherland.

There definitely was something a little more 'innocent' about Schumacher's film. This felt more like someone looking at that and saying, 'so lame. It need blood, and guts, and nudity, and more swearing! Oh, and killer stunt bike moves! RADICAL!!'

Plus, couldn't they have slapped a yellow filter on the lens? Canada still looks like Canada!

And...ugh, the scene where the sister does her little freak-out ('how could I have sucked his blood? I'm a vegetarian!') still makes me wince.

And on a final note, that 'Goonies' reference just had me thinking: so, there's Edgar Frog who resembles Corey Feldman in this world...and there's an actor named Corey Feldman who resembles Edgar Frog. So, does that mean that Schumacher's film 'The Lost Boys' exists on a video store counter in this world? *cue Twilight Zone music*