MOVIE REVIEW: “Lost Boys II: The Tribe”
When I think of the movies that influenced my nubile mind during the 80’s the campy horror flick LOST BOYS leaps to the foreground, fangs, feathered hair and all! There is a certain self-deprecating dark humor that 80’s horror movies have that current films of the same genre often have a hard time capturing. Perhaps it was the prevalence of neon colored spandex, vinyl and Max Headroom sunglasses or a residual Miami Vice spray paint and cocaine induced high that allowed director and actors the ability to laugh at themselves in just the right ways while poking repeated fun at the plasticized culture around them. Whatever it was, 80’s horror films are unmistakable treasures, defining symbols of the era’s cultural sharp attitude.
I always say that if something was done perfectly the first time, why try to reinvent it? Twenty-one years after the initial release of LOST BOYS, Hollywood decided to make an investment in its sequel, despite the fact that the original story did not warrant a sequel and it is two decades later...can we say, a slightly different societal culture? When I first heard about the project earlier this year, my eyebrow automatically arched with skepticism. Being an absolute, die-hard LOST BOYS fan I simply could not see why or how they could make a sequel that could even remotely match the original classic. After all, there were no surviving vampires at the end of LOST BOYS. It wasn’t like in FRIGHTNIGHT where we sort of see a glimmer of movement in the window signifying that there might possibly be something surviving, etc. No, I’m pretty sure that everything died in a big gory blood bath explosion of some sort or another culminating in the famous death-by-taxidermy-antlers scene with Kiefer Sutherland. Now, who can forget that death scene! Certainly not I! However, despite all of my justly warranted skepticism I was intrigued. Anything revolving around one of the films that started me on my pathway to horror worship cannot help but snag my attention or, more like, cast a fishhook in my lip and drag me along painful on it’s long and dusty production road.
Needless to say, despite the rusty fishhook injury that forced my attention, I was interested to see if they could pull it off. Perhaps, with the right directorial eye and a truly unique script, the original spirit of LOST BOYS could possibly be revived in a new installment? And when I heard that Kiefer’s son, Angus Sutherland, was to play the new lead vampire and that Corey Feldman was returning as Edgar Frog, I knew that, despite whether or not it was a complete waste of time, I would have to fork over my four hard-earned dollars to rent it as soon as it hit video store shelves...What a complete waste of four dollars! Four dollars: a gallon of gas, a cappuccino, a whiskey on the rocks, a couple of damn good tacos from Torchey’s...I could have spent that money in other much more gratifying ways, but no, I haaaaaad to rent LOST BOYS II: THE TRIBE!
Let me begin this with a small, yet scathing, statement: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A NEW STORY PLEASE DO NOT MAKE A SEQUEL!! This new installment of the LOST BOYS story is an almost complete duplicate of the original down to the underground tunnel/destroyed nightclub where the vampires’ lair resides. The same central California surfer town, the same dirt-bike riding punk vampires and, yes, even Edgar Frog, “surfboard shaper and vampire hunter”, who is now living in a trailer at the edge of town, though he seems to be wearing the same outfit as he had been two decades previously. They even, for a brief moment, show what I believe is supposed to be an aged, out-of-work version of the guy who was playing the saxophone at the outdoor concert in the first film. The minute I saw that, I automatically sighed and placed my head in my hands. But, oh no, it went on to duplicate other scenes such as the aforementioned death-by-antlers scene. Why, oh why, would a director think that this would be “clever”? Director P.J. Pesce should be dragged out back of his studio and flogged for this very detail of his film alone!
The only thing I could really see that differentiated it from the original was the dire lack of creativity and the absence of the hysterical dope-growing grandfather from the first film. I know, I know, many of you are thinking to yourself, “Well, what did you really expect?” And the honest answer is...I’m really not sure at this point. That damned spark of optimism that hasn’t been completely squashed in to a complete state of jadedness kept squeaking “there may yet still be hope!” But there wasn’t. Not even the faintest glimmer. Asides from the plotline being nearly identical to the original film, the performances in the film were abysmal at the very least. With a script that could lull a raging speed freak to sleep, the actors fumbled miserably to find their footing with characters as hollow and vacant as a rerun of SUNSET TAN.
What was perhaps the most disappointing, however, was Angus Sutherland’s performance. For all of his brooding, surfer good looks, it is blatantly obvious he did not inherit one ounce of his father’s talent. As cold and one-dimensional as a fast-food coupon, Angus approached the character of lead vampire with a sluggish enthusiasm. Either he didn’t bother to watch his father’s pervious performance, of which he knew he would be compared, or he simply has no true interest in acting in general because his performance is one of the very worst I’ve seen in quite some time, and this is compared to some pretty amateur stuff I’ve received in the mail recently. Angus, just because you’re father is an acclaimed actor, doesn’t mean you have to be as well. Perhaps a silent career in modeling is more fitting to your abilities?
Am I being a bit harsh? Actually, I feel that I am only skimming the surface of all of the very many deep flaws in LOST BOYS II. I know that Corey Feldman, according to his blog, was very excited about this film, and perhaps he was expecting this to be his “big come back”. Unfortunately, he invested his time in the wrong film this time around. As for all of you vampire fans and LOST BOYS fans, save your four dollars. Go buy yourselves a good cup of coffee, a gallon of gas, or, better yet, a glass of whiskey, and sleep well tonight knowing that you have missed absolutely nothing in the realm of new vampire cinema by surpassing LOST BOYS II: THE T