Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Lost Boys: The Tribe

The Lost Boys: The Tribe is the hotly debated sequel to an eighties classic. This flick was directed by P.J. Pesce from a script by Hans Rodionoff. Both men have previous experience with vampire stories: Pesce directed the third film in the From Dusk Til Dawn franchise and Rodionoff wrote a movie called Sucker. Don't worry, I didn't see the others either. The flick stars some unknowns and one piece of stunt casting in the form of Kiefer Sutherland's half-brother Angus. But, really...if you're going to watch the flick, you're most likely watching it to see Corey Feldman as Edgar Frog. That's why I agreed to watch it with my mom. Too bad he's not in it more, the movie might have been more interesting.
I need to go to bed soon as I have to work day shift and, like a vampire, day time isn't my happy time, so I'll try to make this short and sweet. This film is about the offspring of Michael Emerson and Starr (Jason Patric and Jamie Gertz from the original film, no they didn't come back) moving to a small coastal California town called Luna Bay (the one in the first film was Santa Cruz) because their maternal aunt (she'd have to be maternal as Michael and Sam didn't have a sister in the original) invited them to live on her property...for $600 a month. Generous. The sister instantly falls in love with the hip and only slightly pale Shane who was something of a hero to her brother when he dreamt of becoming a professional surfer. Then, she drinks his blood under the assumption that it's wine (uh, yeah...we've all tasted and smelled blood before...she should have known better, but then so should have Michael) and it's up to her brother to save her.
Personally, I would have thought that Michael and Starr would tell their kids all about vampires. Instead, they're pretty much blind to the darker side of California living and have to turn to reclusive, battle weary vampire hunter / surfboard shaper (convenient) Edgar Frog, whose brother Alan is mentioned only in vague passing as a casualty of the war on the undead.
Like nearly all sequels to movies that are twenty years old, this is more like a remake with jokes and asides thrown in for the fans. The image of a fatter version of Tim Cappello, the saxaphone player from the beach in the first one, was funny and cute, but distracting. Wanting to watch the Goonies? Also distracting. Stuff like this kept happening for the first twenty to forty minutes, referencing itself as though it were going out of style. Oh, wait...
Around the forty five minute mark, the movie started to get a little interesting, but the damage had been done. Also, there were way too many plot conveniences in the film, making everything feel very contrived. Edgar Frog living in the same random town as the Emerson kids, doing the thing that the Emerson boy wants a job doing, showing up at random times without invitation but to conveniently save someone's skin. Too much. In the first film, it was luck; in this film, it's convenient...
Angus Sutherland lacks the charisma of his brother and if there's one thing a vampire really needs to have in order to offset the coppery smell of blood and death on its undead body, it's likeability. Neither he, nor his character Shane, are particularly likeable in this flick. In point of fact, I didn't really find anyone in the film likeable...except for Edgar Frog, but I loved him in the original film.
If this movie had been about the Frog Brothers, I think I would have liked it more. And if Corey Haim can stay straight, remember his lines, and not piss off the Warners heads any more than he already has, I'd really like to see the movie they set up at the end of the flick and the story leading up to it, which I believe was covered in the comic book series The Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs, but I don't know for sure on that one.
Finally, I didn't dig the redesign of the vampire make-up. It was fine the way it was. The decapitated head of Tom Savini was well done, too. That's not much of a spoiler, by the way. That's in the first five minutes of the flick.
Overall: this movie is weak and lacks the originality of the first film. Better writing, better casting, and leaving the make-up design alone would have been welcome, but it's not that bad for a direct-to-video flick.


Marvin the Martian said...

Hmmm. I don't think I saw the original. I'll have to check it out.

Lori said...

The first one is a great 80s vampire flick directed by Joel Schumacher. It's strange for me to say "great flick" and "directed by Joel Schumacher" in the same sentence, but it's true.