Saturday, August 23, 2008
Movie Review – The Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008)
Huh?!? I waited 20 years for this?!?
That was my initial thought after sitting through this latest attempt to rape my childhood. I promised myself that I wouldn’t watch this when it came out. I swore I wouldn’t be sucked into a sequel to a movie that was an essential and inescapable part of my high school life. Dear dark gods! How I wanted to be Michael from the Lost Boys. I grew a mullet like him, I pierced my ear like him, I even bought a leather jacket and took to wearing wayfarer sunglasses at night. The girl I dated all through high school would call me Michael, and I’d call her Starr. We’d answer the door and say, “…and you must be Max.” Jesus… I still have two or three songs from the soundtrack on my iPod right now. Seriously.
And I was going to hold firm, dammit. I was NOT going to see what was certain to be a horrible movie. And then I started watching the reality show, The Two Coreys. I got sucked into it and actually broke down when I saw that Fel-dog and the Haimster and the other Frog brother, Jason Newlander, were going to be in the sequel. So, when it came up, I put it on my Netflix queue.
Yeah, I knew that Haim’s a slow motion, slurring, chain-smoking, dope-addicted train wreck. And I knew that he was only going to be in a couple of scenes, but I actually convinced myself that Feldman is actually a reasonable guy and wouldn’t commit career suicide or risk whatever legacy he might have. In other words, I bought into the fake reality that is their reality show.
Boy was I disappointed.
The Lost Boys: The Tribe is, essentially, a modernized remake of the original Lost Boys. It started out with some promise. Some surfers sneak onto an ocean-side estate to surf at night. The estate, owned by a vampire played in a surprising cameo by Tom Savini, confronts the surfers with the intention of having a late night snack. Unfortunately, the surfers are the new Lost Boys and quickly turn the tables on Savini as they dog-pile him, kill him, and rip his head off.
Cool! I thought, Awesome gore and an even better cameo… this might actually be good.
From there, we roll into the credits and it’s similar to the beginning of the original Lost Boys with scenes of street people, alternative types, and tattoos aplenty. However, where in the original it was kind of cool and alternative and Santa Carla had the look of a cool place to live; this time it looks like the walking dead, white trash, and drug addicts that can be found in the seedier parts of any big city. I did have to laugh when they had a quick shot of a guy standing on a corner playing a saxophone… it looked to be the same guy who was performing on the beach when Michael meets Starr in the original, right down to the leather pants and long hair… only he’s no longer oiled and buff with muscles. Now he’s old, wrinkled, and sports a potbelly.
The story is simple, a brother and sister move to a new town to live with a batty aunt after the death of their parents in a car accident. The brother, Chris Emerson (played by Tad Hilgenbrek), is an ex-pro surfer who got kicked off the pro-circuit for fighting and his sister, Nicole (Autumn Reeser), end up moving into a rat-hole house. They go to a party on their first night; where they run into the Lost Boys, lead by another ex-surfer turned vampire – Shane. Shane is played by Keifer Sutherland’s little brother, Angus.
Shane takes a liking to Nicole. She drinks his blood, starts to become a vampire, and Chris needs to save her. He hooks up with Edgar Frog, who happens to be living in town, and they go fight and kill the Lost Boys, saving Nicole.
Like I said – this movie is an updated, remake of the original. Feldman basically walks around in his old costume, spouting entire lines of dialogue from the original. The fact that Sam and Chris’ last name is Emerson is never mentioned (I’m assuming they must be the kids of Michael and Starr… but it’s never made clear or mentioned, besides the fact that Nicole has long brown hair and is ‘the spitting image’ of her mother.). The story alludes to Edgar having lost his own brother, Allan, to vampires. The only appearance of Allan comes in the special features as an alternative ending where Allan, now a “Master Vampire” is coming to get Edgar. As the credits roll, we’re treated to a showdown between Edgar and a vampire Sam, but that’s all of about 30 seconds.
And here is where my main gripe with this movie is. The writers and director made this movie that is a watered down remake, but then – as an afterthought – added the bits with Haim, Feldman, and Newlander. And the bits they added (or decided to delete) hint at a great story. For me, the movie should have been about what’s happened to the characters of Sam, Edgar, and Allan in the 20 years since the death of Max and his original band of Lost Boys. Somewhere in there; Sam and Allan have become vampires, Starr and Michael have married and had kids, and Edgar has carried on slaying vampires despite the devastating loss of his brother to the enemy. That’s the fucking story I want! Not some rehash with a bunch of pretty people whose sole acting contributions consist of guest appearances on One Tree Hill and the OC!
And – although Haim has become a walking E! True Hollywood Story – his parts were good. Feldman was the shining star of the cast. What pains Doctor Zombie the most is the potential there. Aaarrrgghh!
And, as for the other characters - the head vampire Shane wandered around half shaved, with long hair, and a fey voice. I suspect he and Haim will share a stint in rehab at some point because he delivered all of his lines as if he were stoned or drunk. And – this may just be me – but the actors who played Chris and Nicole Emerson were both good… but they had a really strong chemistry between each other. Normally, this is a good thing for actors and actresses to have – but not when they’re playing brother and sister. Seriously…I kept expecting them to kiss each other. It was like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith chemistry. There was a scene where Nicole’s standing in a towel, talking to him, and I was certain they were going to get totally incestuous. Creepy! I got the shudders thinking about it!
So – what’s the final verdict? Doctor Z.’s gotta say – pass on it. Pull out your copy of the original Lost Boys and revel in the sheer 80’s awesomeness and save yourself the frustration of watching a sequel that could have been great, but was more than happy being simply less than mediocre. Rating-wise, I’m giving it a 2 out of 5 only because Haim had some great, funny lines. There were also some great gory scenes and gratuitous nudity, which I’m always happy to see, but the script and acting sucked… literally. (Get it? The script sucked?!? That’s a vampire joke…get it? Oh, never mind…)
Doctor Zombie’s Rating: 2 out of 5 Chomped Brain