“Build a man a fire, and he’s warm for a day. Light a man on fire, and he’s warm for the rest of his life.” – Edgar Frog
If you get nothing else out of watching the highly unanticipated sequel, Lost Boys: The Tribe, at least take that nugget of wisdom. It’s one of the very few fun bits from what is an otherwise unnecessary movie. But when you make a sequel more than twenty years after its beloved predecessor, can you expect anything else?
Chris and Nicole Emerson (Tad Hilgenbrink and Autumn Reeser) have moved to Luna Bay after the death of their parents in a car accident. You won’t know this from watching the movie (and it’s irrelevant to the plot anyway), but their parents are supposedly Michael and Star (Jason Patric and Jami Gertz) from the original Lost Boys. Chris was a champion surfer before the accident, but now seems solely preoccupied with caring for his younger sister. Their first night in town they’re invited to a party hosted by Shane (Angus Sutherland) and his friends (The Tribe) at Tom Savini’s beach house. Shane and his buds are vampires, really really cool vampires, and soon Nicole is swigging their blood from a flask which as everyone knows is enough to make you a human/vamp mulatto. Chris must not only defeat the evil tribe of X-Games loving bloodsuckers, but prevent his sis from feeding on human blood and completing her transformation as well. Luckily for him (and for the audience) he gets help from one half of the Frog brothers (and one half of the Corey’s) in the form of Edgar Frog, aka Corey Feldman. What follows is a film that fails miserably at being an original, but also misses the mark as an homage to its predecessor.
Lost Boys: The Tribe wastes no time in sharing where it differs from the original film. The opening attack scene highlights that this is an R rating (DVD is unrated technically) for 2008, not 1987… there’s more vulgarity and gore in these first few minutes than in the entirety of Lost Boys. Deaths of both victims and vampires are wonderfully bloody and well-done throughout the film (some bad CGI fire aside), and there’s even some nekkid vampette shenanigans. In fact, the gore effects are one of the two minor saving graces the film has. The other is Corey Feldman.
The arrival of Edgar Frog on screen reminds the viewer of the one thing most lacking in The Tribe… any sense of fun. Say what you will about Joel Schumacher’s horribly misguided, homoerotic makeover of the Batman franchise, the man has made some entertaining films (Falling Down, A Time to Kill, D.C. Cab) in his career. Lost Boys was a fun movie. A solid cast, strong and energetic performances, a really fresh sense of humor, an impressive and varied soundtrack, and a Barnard Hughes zinger at the end. The Tribe has none of these things. Kiefer Sutherland’s half-brother, Angus, not so much “acts” in the movie as he does walk and talk and stuff. The script by Hans Rodionoff makes little logical sense and actually includes the line “Why don’t you take a picture, it’ll last longer.” The soundtrack is obnoxiously heavy with rare exception, and includes a cover of “Cry Little Sister” that would be better if the original never existed.
And then there’s Feldman. Thanks to a combination of shadows and surgery he looks pretty damn identical to how he did twenty years ago. Frog is still dead serious about vampires and comic books, although now he earns a living as a board shaver. Feldman is clearly having fun as Frog, and he has all of the film’s best dialogue (“Your sister’s a suck monkey.”) Aside from the unexplained familial connection mentioned above, Feldman is the only real link to the original Lost Boys. Oh, and the shot of an older, shirtless, pot-bellied saxophone player.
Much was made of the Two Corey’s returning in the sequel but as the end credits start to roll you’ll find yourself with one big question. (Several questions actually… why hasn’t Frog hunted this batch of vamps already since he lives in the same town as them? did Tom Savini do the sfx for his own prosthetic and decapitated head? why the hell does Chris walk away in the middle of shower sex with a hot, wet, naked chick to go check on his sister?) The big one though is where the hell is Corey Haim? Well… wait about a minute into the credits and you’ll get your answer. You won’t understand what the hell is going on, but you’ll know why Haim wasn’t in the rest of the film. Check out the DVD’s alternate endings and you’ll also see what happened to Edgar Frog’s brother, Alan (Jamison Newlander)… which, ironically, explains the Haim footage during the credits. If a sequel had to be made, these unused and disregarded scenes are where the story should have gone. Wouldn’t have been as good as Lost Boys… but it most likely would have been better and more interesting than The Tribe.
The Upside: Gory sfx including miscellaneous innards, limbs, and a couple gushing decapitations; nekkid vampette in the shower and on some deer antlers; and Corey Feldman.
The Downside: Some wooden acting; uninspiring screenplay; unrelated (yet still insulting) to the original; and no Corey Haim.