Written by: Devan Charnov and Hans Rodionoff
Directed by: Dario Piana
Starring: Feldog, Jamison Newlander, Tanit Phoenix, and Casey Dolan
Reviewed by: Brett G.
“The only thing that stands between him and the annihilation of the entire human race would be us…The Frog Brothers.”
“We haven’s been the Frog Brothers for a long time.”
“We haven’s been the Frog Brothers for a long time.”
It took twenty years for The Lost Boys to form a new Tribe and show up for a sequel; after a couple of often-rumored and long-mooted projects (a prequel and a Lost Girls sequel) were finally staked for good, Warner Brothers decided to resurrect the franchise and take it where many fan boys didn’t care to see it go: direct-to-video. The sequel didn’t find much a following with the exception of a couple of guys named Brett who happen to write for this fine site. Still, the lukewarm reception didn’t deter everyone’s favorite vampire slayer, Feldog, and WB from bringing another round of bloodsucking action to the small screen. This time, another familiar face joins the cast in the form of Jamison Newlander, who reunites with his on-screen brother to properly reform The Frog Brothers in Lost Boys: The Thirst.
The cinematic reunion gets underway early, as Edgar and Alan find themselves in Washington D.C. (the other murder capital) attempting to bust up some Capitol Hill vampire action; during the skirmish, Alan is turned into a vampire and flees the scene. The action flashes ahead to five years later, where we find Edgar down and out and on the verge of eviction. After selling $65 worth of comic books (including a familiar looking copy of "Destroy All Vampires"), he’s left to contemplate what to do next. Conveniently, a famous vampire novelist seeks out Frog and enlists him to find and rescue her brother, who was taken hostage by a coven of globe-hopping vampires. The group also just happens to be in town for one of their famous raves, which have managed to draw thousands of young people that have developed a thirst for the undead’s latest drug of choice: vampire blood!
The Tribe rightfully attempted to place viewers into familiar territory by basically re-telling the original film’s story with a (mostly) new cast of characters. The Thirst, on the other hand, goes in a bit of a new direction and feels more like an attempt to move things forward, with mixed results. This time, Feldog takes center stage, while the titular Lost Boys themselves take a bit of a backseat; whereas previous entries presented a pack of cool vampires attempting to lure in unsuspecting victims, this one presents them as full-on, almost uncharismatic antagonists for much of the film. The result basically boils down to “Feldog vs. Vampires,” and there’s just enough nostalgic ties to the first film (via references and flashbacks) that keeps it feeling like a proper Lost Boys film.
Tonally speaking, it’s more on par with The Tribe, as it’s still sort of a sleazier, more modern take on the franchise. There’s plenty of boobs and blood packed into the film’s brief 81 minutes; obviously, this one moves along quite quickly, and even the camera itself never seems to settle down. The film is energetic, yet nicely focused, making it easy to keep up with. There’s a bevy of nicely done action sequences that feature Edgar doing what he does best: slaughtering vampires and spouting one-liners in his trademark faux Rambo voice. These scenes represent the main thrust of the movie because it’s really an action-vampire movie at heart, and a pretty fun one at that (though I have to wonder why all the bloodsuckers go out the same way, which is contrary to previous installments).
You might expect such a short and action-packed film to be devoid of character development, and you’d pretty much be right. While The Frog Brothers carry some nostalgic currency (Alan’s struggle with vampirism adds a nice dimension to the story), most of the newcomers fall flat. This is especially true of Phoenix’s character and her crew, which also includes a reality-show character. He especially feels tacked on to the proceedings and offers nothing more but a bump in the body count, while Phoenix remains simply eye candy and an excuse to put the plot into motion. Casey Dolan’s Zoe does manage to create some decent chemistry with Feldog and represents the best of the new cast. On the other hand, the vampires are pretty much non-entities in this one; they’re basically some generic ravers who simply aren’t given enough time to become halfway likeable and charismatic like their predecessors (the half-brothers Sutherland). The mythical “Alpha Vampire” comes the closest to being the type of vampire expected from the franchise, but he has precious little screen time as well.
Still, for a direct-to-video second sequel, this one gets a lot more right than it does wrong. Production values are relatively high, and Piana’s direction is serviceable enough. You get what you pay for as far as acting goes, with most of it coming across as intentionally bombastic and over-the-top. This creates the expected light-hearted tone, and there’s plenty of more humor to go along with it, which hits and misses. The story itself is brisk and basic for much of the running-time, and you’ll probably find yourself wondering if the film is ever going to really take off. But honestly, I was hooked during a nicely-shot scene that featured a pack of vampires descending upon the town, all set to the now iconic “Cry Little Sister” theme (I dare any Lost Boys fan not to crack a smile during that scene). With the exception of a middle-act sequence that drags, the movie moves at a pretty breakneck pace from this point, and it all builds to a series of wild twists and turns that will surprise. Fans will also enjoy all of the nods and flashbacks to the original film dispersed all the way through; it’s an admittedly quick and easy way to appeal to the hardcore crowd, which will likely dig this one because it actually tries to connect itself with the beloved original.
On that note, the untimely passing of Corey Haim, there’s also a dimension of real-life grieving and loss anytime his character is mentioned. The film is not only dedicated to Haim, but there are scenes where Edgar visits Sam’s grave, which feels more like one Corey saying goodbye to another, and I can’t imagine a better tribute. It’s too bad that Haimster won’t be around for the potential fourth film, but I’ll certainly go wherever the Frog Brothers journey from here on out, even if The Thirst is a bit of a step down from The Tribe. Warner Premiere has brought this third installment home on DVD and Blu-ray; I sampled the latter, which features a flawless anamorphic transfer and a booming, aggressive DTS 5.1 track. Special features include some video blogs that highlight the lifestyles of “The Bad Boys and Girls of the Undead Realm,” a featurette where Edgar Frog tells us how to kill vampires, a “Return of the Frog Brothers” documentary, and a piece called “The Art of Seduction: Vampire Lore,” hosted by Charisma Carpenter. As a 20 year fan of The Lost Boys franchise, I was satisfied just enough with The Thirst. It’s not without its missteps, but the power of nostalgia mixed with realistic expectations (it’s not the 80s anymore, nor do I expect a movie from 2010 act like it is) make this one a fun, worthy entry. Prepare to “say hello to the night” once again. Buy it!
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