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Lost Boys: The Tribe (Blu-ray)
Warner Home Video / 2008 / 94 Minutes / Unrated
Street Date: July 29, 2008
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Reviewed by High-Def Digest Staff
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I should have known 'Lost Boys: The Tribe' was going to suck when Warner didn't even bother sending out a review copy. Normally, we'd get the Blu-ray release ahead of the street date, but here it is a couple of weeks since 'The Tribe' hit stores and a copy still hasn't shown up in my mailbox. Not that I can blame the studio for being embarrassed of 'Lost Boys: The Tribe,' for here is a wholly unnecessary and unanticipated sequel that's about 18 years past its sell-by date. Not only did no one need a sequel to the perfectly close-ended 1987 cult classic 'Lost Boys,' but 'The Tribe' is so poorly conceived and shoddily executed that it gives even direct-to-video filler a bad name.
Our story concerns Chris and Nicole Emerson (Tad Hilgenbrink and Autumn Reeser), who have just moved to the seaside town of Luna Bay after the death of their parents (according to web chatter, said parents are supposed to be Michael and Star from the original 'Lost Boys,' but I could find no proof of this in the actual film). In a murky bit of backstory, Chris was once a top surfer, but now seems more obsessed with his sister than with getting his life back on track. Only a few minutes into 'The Tribe,' Nicole is already boogying with a local band of vampires led by Shane (Angus Sutherland, Kiefer's brother), after he invites her to a party (at Tom Savini's beach house, no less!) In an obvious role-reversal of the events in the first 'Lost Boys,' Nicole becomes a half-vampire after drinking a cup of vamp-blood, and it's up Chris to kill the head vampire before Nicole completes her transformation.
I'd never thought I'd say this, but the best part of 'The Tribe' is Corey Feldman. In his quest to save his sister, Chris turns to Edgar Frog from the first 'Lost Boys,' who's now a sort of never-aging boy-man who still reads vampire comics and apparently haunts the beaches of California looking for kids like Chris and Nicole who need help killing their local bloodsuckers. What Feldman brings to 'The Tribe' is actual enthusiasm and energy -- it's obvious he cares about this character, and Feldman milks every scene he's in for all its worth. Without him, 'The Tribe' is one creatively bankrupt film, with a horribly constructed script that leads scenes to dead ends, introduces plot points but never resolve them, and lacks a single identifiable theme. It's one-liners are also among the worst in horror-comedy history (where's Bernard Hughes when you need him?) Even if the original 'Lost Boys' was too campy for its own good, at least it was fun. 'The Tribe' is yet another cash-in DTV sequel that rapes the corpse of the original, with no apparent knowledge of what made it successful in the first place.
'The Tribe' also lacks any sense of hipness. The original 'Lost Boys' was certainly of its time and is now rather dated, but at least it was once "cool" -- 'The Tribe' by comparison has next to no style or panache. (The photography is also pretty horrible, with everything looking ugly and dark.) The stunt casting of Sutherland was also a mistake -- Angus has none of the charisma that Kiefer had in spades, and his vocal mannerisms are hilarious. Ditto his fangy cohorts, who are all as completely forgettable and nondescript as extras on a CW show. Add to that a general tone of unpleasantness thanks to excessive T&A and ruthless bloodletting (this Blu-ray presents 'The Tribe' in an unrated cut), and what we have here is a sequel to 'Lost Boys' that replaces its classy funhouse-like thrills with cynical and crass exploitation.
As if there was any other reason not to watch the 'Lost Boys: The Tribe,' the film even cheats in the much-publicized "reunion" of Feldman with his famous fellow Corey, Corey Haim (as well as Jamison Newlander, who played one of the Frog Brothers). You'll have to wait until the end credits to even see Haim, and this film is so chintzy it doesn't even bother explaining his appearance. You have to watch a pair of alternate endings included as a supplement just to see the link (as well as see Newlander, who was snipped from the final cut). It's just another incomprehensible rip-off element to 'The Tribe,' which now officially gets my vote for "The worst direct-to-video sequel I've ever seen."
'Lost Boys: The Tribe' gets what little visual benefit it does from its widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio, which at least gives the proceedings a cinematic feel. This 1080p/VC-1 transfer is downright fugly, however, with hideous grain, uber-dark lighting and a generally unsightly appearance.
This has to be one of the grainiest transfers I've seen on a Blu-ray. Unfortunately, colors are over-saturated, which adds considerable noise to the image just to further muck things up. The film's dark photography is further exacerbated by noticeable black crush, so fine detail is poor. Contrast runs on the hot side, which does at least threaten to offer genuine image depth, but it can't overcome the dreadfulness of the rest of the transfer. Add to that some edge enhancement and a nice spattering of jaggies and motion artifacts, and you have my vote for one of the worst transfers I've seen on a Warner Blu-ray. Drive a stake through this one.
Well, at least the audio ain't bad. Warner offers only English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps), but it's serviceable and doesn't offend like the video transfer.
'The Tribe' sounds like a fairly polished direct-to-video film. Dynamic range is on the cramped side, and never sounds particularly spacious or lush. Dialogue is laced with obvious ADR and Angus Sutherland's hilariously bad monotone line readings -- unfortunately, it's balanced well in the mix so we have to hear every word loud and clear. Discrete effects are fairly lively, with a few instances of nice pans and some atmosphere. The forgettable score by Nathan Barr is likewise well integrated. Despite its cheap sound, this soundtrack is a perfectly fine presentation of limited source material.
Warner has produced an anemic batch of extras for 'Lost Boys: The Tribe.' It's all fluff, and presented in weak 480p/i/MPEG-2 video to boot.
- Featurette: "Edgar Frog’s Guide to Coming Back Alive" (SD, 5 minutes) - This lame featurette has Corey Feldman offering us the basics on vampire home protection. But Feldman seems downright embarrassed, as if this is some contractual obligation, so he spends most of the runtime recounting the same things he says in the movie while staring down at the ground.
- Featurette: "Action Junkies" (SD, 4 minutes) - This uber-short vignette is just an EPK interview with the vampire cast, who tell us how cool all the stunts were to do in the flick. The wimpy 4-minute runtime is further padded out with film clips.
- Alternate Endings (SD) - There are two here, and they are the only place you can see original Frog Brother Jamison Newlander (who got snipped from the final cut). The much-touted "reunion" of the two Coreys also gets more screentime, and there is a little "twist" the Haim character that could have been exploited for more than just a throwaway gag at the end. But you watch, and decide for yourself.
- Music Videos (SD) - There are three low-quality clips by a band called Yeah Whatever: "Downfall," "Hell Is Full" and "It's Over Now." Plus, we get a new remix of the original 'Lost Boys' theme song "Cry Little Sister" by G Tom Mac.
There are no exclusive extras.
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'Lost Boys: The Tribe' is a truly dreadful direct-to-video sequel that has no reason to exist, and should stay buried. This Blu-ray is a mixed presentation, with bad video, decent audio, and frightfully few quality supplements. 'The Tribe' is so utterly awful (on just about every level), that if you still insist on renting it, I'm never going to let you read another one of my reviews again.
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