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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Lost Boys: The Tribe (Blu-ray)
Lost Boys: The Tribe (Blu-ray)
Warner Bros. // R // July 29, 2008 // Region A
List Price: $35.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted August 16, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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"Let me just get this straight then. So, you've teamed up with a surfboard shaper-slash-vampire hunter so you can kill this guy who I'm totally crushing on so you can save me from eternal damnation? Is that pretty much it?"
"Yeah, that's pretty much it."


There! No need to dig through twelve or thirteen long, meandering paragraphs. "No" -- that's your review. Thank me later. The bill's on its way.

I'll admit that I kinda/sorta
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had some expectations for Lost Boys: The Tribe. It was penned by Hans Rodionoff, a name that's probably not ringing a bell to much of anyone trudging through this review, but he's the man behind Sucker the Vampire, a really clever comedy-slash-horror-slash-drama that's probably the best thing Troma's ever churned out and one of my all-time favorite vampire flicks. Oh, but there's not a whole helluva lot that's clever...or funny...or original...or...y'know, anything about Lost Boys: The Tribe.

This no-budget, direct-to-video sequel is pretty much just a blurry fax of the twenty-plus year old screenplay from the original movie. Okay, now it's a down-on-their-luck brother and sister who are breezing into a town teeming with vamps instead of the other way around. Oh, and the virginal type who's seduced into bloodsuckin' this time around is a girl. See? It's totally different. The vamps still ride bikes, but now they surf and skateboard too. Thanks, Poochie, for punching up the script. The same saxophone guy from the original is still hanging around. Corey Feldman pops up again as Edgar, still wearing the same wardrobe and muttering his dialogue in a chainsmoking-ravaged froggy belch. Hell, they retread another vamp being skewered by mounted antlers, and they even got Kiefer Sutherland's younger, not-even-close-to-being-an-actor half-brother to step into the lead as the Head Vampire.

Whatever. Quick runthrough the plot: Chris (Tad Hilgenbrink) and Nicole (Autumn Reeser) are ::sniffles!:: orphans. See, Chris used to be a surfing superstar, but he flew off the handle and lost his sponsors, and now he and his not-quite-legal sister are barely scraping by. They set up shop in the coastal city o' Santa Carla, California, and...yup, twenty years later, it's still infested with vamps. Nicole's charmed by Shane (Angus Sutherland), one of Chris' now-undead surfing idols, and after taking a swig of his blood (oops!), she's on her way to becoming a vampire her-damn-self. But wait!!!!!! She's not a full-fledged creature of the night yet. Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) still keeps a big stack of vampire comics on his pull list, and he tells Chris that as long as the tribe's head vampire is staked before Nicole has a chance to feed, she can still become human again. 'Course, Shane is always flanked by a small army of the undead, so the only way Chris can get close enough to stake him is if he becomes...duh-dum-dum!...a vampire himself.

So, yeah. The Tribe plays pretty much like a sweded version of The Lost Boys, trying to mimic damn near everything from the original with a shoestring budget and a shittier cast. There's...ugh, nothing redeeming about it. The acting's cringingly bad. I mean, Autumn Reeser is okay -- as if I'd ever say anything mean about someone that adorable -- but her on-screen
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brother acts like he's reading off cue cards. Angus Sutherland looks the part of the seductive creature of the night type, but his half-mumbled, what-the-fuck Slovakian accent and stilted, wooden acting don't exactly make for much of a menacing villain. Direct-to-video auteur P.J. Pesce doesn't infuse the direction with any real personality or energy, the editing -- especially early on -- is choppy and awkward, and the writing...oh, the writing! "Partying all night -- sleeping all day -- you both need to stop acting like a couple of vampires!" Get it? "Who ordered the stake?" Ha! Vampires don't wanna be staked, but they are really into homonyms! "Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer." "You guess so or you know so?" (They use that last one twice, even.)

The extreme vampire angle is unconvincing and really just kinda dumb. Since there isn't really much of a budget, The Tribe tries to make up for it with production values: y'know, tits, ass, and geysers of blood. While the attacks are sopping with the red stuff, there really aren't that many of 'em, and almost all of them are too closely packed together at the end, leaving the pacing dragging agonizingly slowly for the first half of the flick. While nudity's always appreciated in a horror movie -- and I think if you went frame-by-frame, you might even catch a blink-and-you'll-miss it peek at Autumn Reeser nekkid -- pretty much all of it seems so gratituitous here that it's like they're just checking off a list. Like, they were in the middle of shooting a scene, suddenly realized, "Oh, shit! We need some tits!", and a P.A. ran over to some random broad and whispered to her to take off her top. The Tribe tries to throw in a sense of humor, but it never gets any laughs...not intentionally, anyway. The vampires say "dick" a lot, Nicole groans about being a vampiric vegetarian, Shane's vamp crew disembowel each other and catch it on video for kicks...whatever. I can't help but feel kind of embarrassed for Corey Feldman, although I guess he is about the best thing in the flick, whipping out garlic bolas and holy water balloon launchers. Oh, and be sure to stick around through the credits for the triumphant return of another Lost Boys alum!

Lost Boys: The Tribe is just a
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lazy grab for cash: an amateurish, boring, cheaper, shittier retread of the original. Skip It.

Video: I seem to remember reading that Warner was mulling over giving Lost Boys: The Tribe a theatrical release, but it's kind of tough to picture a flick that looks this low-rent bowing in a couple thousand theaters. The movie can't shake off its shoestring budget, clearly shot on the cheap with really low-end HD cameras. Detail and clarity are both okay, but the overall impact is dulled by the chintzy photography, and contrast, color saturation, and sharpness can all vary wildly from one shot to the next. The scope image is buzzing with video noise (or artificial grain or whatever), black levels are anemic, and these high-def cameras really don't hold up at all under low light. 'Sbetter than DVD, yeah, but that's about the best thing I can come up with to say about it.

Audio: Lost Boys: The Tribe's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is okay. The recording of the dialogue is fine and balanced well in the mix, although the movie does open with some of the clunkiest after-the-fact looping ever captured on filmvideo. The sound design isn't especially aggressive, although it does make kind of an effort to take advantage of the whole multichannel thing. Sometimes it works -- the semi-disorienting "hey, where are they...?" vamp chatter in a boathouse chase -- and other times, it really, really doesn't. Some of the e-e-e-e-e-erie ambiance seems kind of out of place, f'r instance, particularly the rattling chains in the underground lair that could've been nicked from a dollar store Spooky Sounds of Halloween CD. Bass response doesn't rank much higher than "okay, I guess", although the sub really does kick in during a few of the attacks, particularly the megaton boom that follows the dusting of that first vamp. It's not really much of a step up over what I'd expect from a DVD, but Lost Boys: The Tribe sounds alright.

There aren't any dubs this time around, although subtitles have been dropped on in English, French, and Spanish.

Extras: The extras are
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all kinda lightweight. "Lost Boys: The Tribe: Action Junkies" (4 min.) makes two glaring mistakes. One...? Too many colons in the title. Two...? Although I guess this featurette is supposed to take a peek at the stunt choreography, there's borderline-nothing to it but everyone saying how this is such an extreme horror flick teeming with extreme vampires. There's a quick look at skitching behind motorcycles and another trick where a vamp swings off a rope and launches off a ramp, but it's pretty much just a talking heads piece. The only other featurette on the disc is "Edgar Frog's Guide to Coming Back Alive" (5 min.), which has Corey Feldman -- in character! -- rattling off a list of his artillery and rattling off the most effective ways to dust vamps. The whole thing sounds kind of clumsily improvised, it's bogged down by way too many clips from the movie that punctuate damn near every sentence, and it's really just a waste of time.

The only high-def extras plopped on here are two virtually identical alternate endings with a ::gasp!:: special appearance from another Lost Boys alum (as if you really need more than one guess) to set up another sequel. They're alternate epilogues more than anything else, I guess, since they really don't have anything to do with what happens in this movie.

Rounding out the extras are four music videos. Three of 'em are by Yeah Whatever, which...yeah, whatever: "Downfall", "Hell Is Full", and "It's Over Now". With a title like "Hell is Full"...well, I'll leave it up to you to play a round of Guess the Genre. Last to bat is a video for G. Tom Mac's update of the original Lost Boys theme.

If you're...y'know, a man about town but still want to watch a shitty direct-to-video horror sequel wherever you are, there's a second disc with a digital copy of the movie. Since there's still nothing resembling an industry standard for digital copies of movies, you can't watch Lost Boys: The Tribe on an iPod.

Conclusion: Slow, boring, forgettable...Lost Boys 2: The Tribe is just another schlocky, pointless, direct-to-video vampire flick, and it really doesn't look or sound that great on Blu-ray either. Skip It.
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