Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Movie Review - Lost Boys: The Tribe (2010)

Way back in August 2008, I reviewed the long awaited sequel to The Lost Boys. Sadly, Lost Boys 2: The Tribe, was a disappointment to me of colossal proportions. You can refresh yourself with the review by clicking here.

I explained in that review how integral a part of my life the original Lost Boys was. Back in the days before vampires were sad and glittery and actually fucking rocked(that's right, I'm looking at you Twilight!), this movie was the sum of all that was great about an 80's teen horror film.

I lived the original. It is - to this day - one of my favorite films of all time. And the sequel, The Tribe, quite frankly, sucked. It was basically a remake of the original, but with worse acting and a watered down script. All of the magic was gone. Corey Feldman made an appearance, as did Corey Haim, but it was an afterthought and felt like they'd been shoehorned in only because they were experiencing some resurgent popularity because of their pseudo-reality show.

I walked away swearing never again. Never again would I suffer the indignity of watching one of my cherished movie memories thrown upon the ground and repeatedly and viciously raped again.

Apparently, I can't keep any promises to myself.

I think time (two+ years by my reckoning) has dulled the pain and healed the wound of The Tribe's violation... which is how I found myself with a copy of Lost Boys: The Thirst.

I blame Corey Feldman Curse you, Corey Feldman.

And despite my misgivings (believe me, I put in this DVD and pressed play with all the uncomfortable flinching an abused wife does when she sets a plate of food in front of her drunk, redneck husband), there is redemption in this film.

Lost Boys: The Thirst finds Edgar Frog (Feldman) barely eking out a living as a retired vampire hunter. Allan (Jamison Newlander) his brother, has been turned into a vampire, and this film shows that pivotal moment in their past when the intrepid Frog brothers rescue a Congressman from a vampiric Senator. The story progresses to find Allan holed up in a warehouse, locked away and feeding on dead animals.

As the main exposition starts, we find Edgar facing foreclosure on his trailer in the coastal Californian town of San Casador,and he is forced to sell all of his comic books. While at the comic shop, we meet his friend and possible love interest Zoe (played by the geekishly delightful Casey Dolan).

The plot is moved along when Edgar is hired to rescue the brother of novelist Gwen Lieber from a band of vampires - led by a vampiric DJ named, ironically enough, DJ X. Gwen is British, hot, and played by Tanit Phoenix. She writes Twilight-like books about sad, emo goth vampires.

Fortunately for her and Edgar, DJ X and his posse happen to be coming to San Casador to host a rave. The vamps, meanwhile, are also turning the raving-attending youths into vampires by feeding them a new drug called Thirst. Thirst is, of course, vampire blood.

The movie quickly turns into an action vehicle for Feldman as he, Zoe, and Gwen take on the vampires on an island off the coast of San Casador. They are joined by a Bear Grylls-like reality TV star Lars (played by Steven van Niekirk) and his hefty cameraman.

That's this film's strongest point, by the way. The film's humor was self-referential and poked fun at the current state of the world. From making fun of the over the top idiocy of Bear Grylls, the stupidity of Twilight-type vampires, to even one point where Feldman points out that all reality TV is, in fact, not reality in any way. (It goes without saying that this was most certainly a comment/indictment on the scripted Two Coreys TV show...)

Plot-wise, this movie isn't exceptionally dense or serious. It is a direct to DVD movie about vampires and vampire hunters, of course. But this movie does what it's predecessor didn't do. It is about the Frog brothers and pays homage to the source material. Feldman still walks around all squinty with a bad Sam Elliot meets Clint Eastwood rasp to his voice, but he's actually given lines that weren't directly stolen from the original Lost Boys. Thankfully, Jamison Newlander gets very few lines. He, by the way, looks every bit of 40 something, and still can't act.

What's great is that the movie doesn't deny the existence of the inferior Lost Boys: The Tribe, but builds and improves on the mythology. We learn that Sam did indeed get turned, and that Edgar had to put him down. We learn that, because of his slaying of Sam - Michael and Starr want nothing to do with him. We learn that Laddie's grown up and married.

There's even a touching scene where Edgar visits Sam's grave and places a copy of Batman #14 on the grave. Lovers of the original will recognize this as the last one of the remaining 4 copies that Sam was always on the lookout for. It was especially poignant because I'm certain the scene was filmed very shortly after Haim's untimely death and Feldman does right by his late friend by making him a part of the movie.

Unlike the original, this movie is by no means a movie about vampires. In fact, the vampires in this movie are forgettable and lack the screen presence or acting chops of either of the Sutherland boys who played the previous vampy incarnations. Although they were only incidental to the story -- I do have to give the film kudos for portraying their vamps in a cary un-Twilight-y way. The vampires are closer to the jagged teethed 30 Days of Night vampires... which is always always always the right way to go with vampires. Not all sad and mopey and fucking glittery.

Fuck Twilight and what it's done to the modern idea of vampires.

The blood and gore were well done and copious, and the effects were good... although they borrowed heavily from Blade and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with their 'exploding into ash' vampire kills.

All in all, this was a good movie and makes me feel glad I took a chance on it. As I've gotten older, I've become much more pragmatic and I know that there is no way any movie will ever capture the magic of the original Lost Boys... especially a direct to DVD outing that is relly just a means for Corey Feldman to pay off his vegan ex-wife, Suzie Feldman. But it's a great homage to the original and was made with the best of intentions. It - in some small way - redeems the suckfest that was Lost Boys 2... and actually establishes a base for a possible sequel.

By the way. Just so we're clear... fuck Twilight.


"Fucking Edward. I oughta stake you myself, bitch."