"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find...You get what you need!" That old lyrical bone of truth resides within the genetic make-up of Lost Boys: The Thirst, the third installment of what has now become an ongoing series of direct-to-DVD adventures featuring the illustrious and hard-to-kill Frog Brothers. David, Star, Michael, and even, sadly, Sam Emerson have all fallen to the wayside of pop recognizability. Within the cannon, these fan-favorite characters have perished and are no longer with us. In continuing this much ballyhooed story from the late 80s, it only makes sense that we'd follow these two young vampire hunters who have gone onto become legends in their own time.
Lost Boys: The Thirst should never be looked at as a sequel. It's a spin-off worthy of its own TV show, which Corey Feldman claims is in the works. If they can deliver this exacting, explosive caliber every single week for ten, twelve, or even twenty-two episodes straight, The CW has a hit on its hands. And it would be the perfect antidote to that channel's own The Vampire Diaries. This current mindset that Vampires are righteous, lovable little creatures who should be worshipped and lusted after is damaging to the public psyche. If anything, Lost Boys: The Thirst attempts to spin the tide on that crass way of thinking, and it once again turns our beloved Vampire Hunters into the true heroes they deserve to be.
Will that notion be welcomed by the young teenage girls and boys who have so heartedly bought into the notion that Twilight is not just a book, but a way of life? It's hard to tell, but the cross-over potential is mind blowing if you think about it. Who wouldn't want Edgar and Allan showing up for an episode of Supernatural (show runner Sera Gamble says that is very much a possibility, as both are Warner Bros.' properties). For now, Edgar and Allan will have to be content with fighting Jacob and Edward doppelgangers in this story that curbs from the life and times of Stephanie Meyer with gleeful abandoned.
Is it The Lost Boys sequel we've always hoped for?
Is it the Frog Brothers movie we've been crying for ever since the not-so-great Lost Boys: The Tribe hit DVD shelves two years ago?
Yes. And then some.
With everything being canonized, and franchised, remade, rebooted, and retooled, we're hard pressed in this day and age to find any sequel or continuation of a previous storyline to have the same resonance and weight as the original. A right proper sequel to the original The Lost Boys could have only come in 1989 or 1990. It wouldn't have been as interesting, or as electrifying, or as beloved as that first film. But looking back at the noted cinematic history of that particular time, it might have been as enjoyable as Young Guns II. Which stands as a worthwhile endevor in its own right. Anything after this contained era in time would have been spilt, spoiled milk. Instead of charging forth with a Lost Boys 2, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman decided to make Dream a Little Dream. Which has gone on to become a weird cult oddity on its own. Despite the fact that its intentions are unclear, people love it almost as much as they love The Lost Boys. Almost, but not quite. Still, that adoration is apparent for two reasons. Feldman and Haim.
Their chemistry was electrifying and legendary.
We'll never get another teen duo like these two young actors. After they went through their self-destructive journeys and their bouts with has been status, the two actors started to reemerge as a pair of nostalgia worthy icons that fans actually wanted to see back on screen together. They pushed for a Lost Boys sequel for a long time while other members of the cast and crew strayed far away from that notion. Warner Bros. decided that this was a good title for their Warner Premier catalogue, a division that would become known for taking beloved properties and turning them into a home market franchise.
The problem with that first sequel, Lost Boys: The Tribe, is that they wanted a fresh set of faces. Young actors who might entice a new audience to check out an old, antiquated property from the bygone era of the 80s. What producers failed to recognize, and what Haim and Feldman really tried to push home, was the fact that today's audience knew and loved the original just as much as their parents did. It's a timeless title that still gets a lot of play on video, TV, and at revival houses. They didn't need a new cast, new characters, or a new storyline. They just needed Sam and the Frog Brothers. There's your cash cow.
Warner Premier begrudgingly allowed Corey Feldman a cameo in that first sequel. Not surprisingly, his scenes were the only ones that really worked. They truly resonated with test audiences, as Feldman truly gave of himself and commited to this iconic character. So they brought him back for more face time, and opened up a day's worth of shooting to Corey Haim, who can only be seen during the end credits as a Vampire. Jamison Newlander, who played the quieter Frog Brother Allan, was delegated to the deleted scenes on the special features area of the DVD. Fans appropriately flipped this weak attempt at brevity the all-mighty finger. It was soon forgotten. But not forgiven.
They truly fucked it up.
The only positive aspect mentioned in mostly all the reviews for Lost Boys: The Tribe was the fact that Corey Feldman, as Edgar Frog, really brought a sense of urgency and excitement to a horribly produced B movie that couldn't quite lift itself off the ground. No one cared about the "kids in peril" aspect. It was a rehash of the first film's storyline. A rip-off. No one cared about the head vampire this time around, despite the fact that he was played by Kiefer Sutherland's own brother, Angus Sutherland.
The lone Frog Brother was the only thing worth watching the movie for. And we, as fans, made enough noise about this fact that Warner Premier actually listened to the complaints. They went back to Feldman and hired him as a producer for the third film. From there, they also hired writers Evan Charnov and Hans Rodionoff , the team behind the well-received The Lost Boys comic book series, and visionary artist Dario Piana as a director. They were given carte blanche to start all over again from scratch. They then hooked Jamison Newlander to return in full co-starring status as Allan Frog. Then together, they set out to create something that would honor the original and please fans that thought the second installment sucked more than just blood.
The result? A rip-roaring good time that delivers on the action, the nostalgia, and the premise of these two Vampire Hunting brothers that was so solidly set up some twenty-three years ago. If this had appeared on Fox as a telefilm in the years following the original's release, it would be worshipped and watched on a loop today. It's sort of like when the Ewoks got their own two-part film series after Return of the Jedi had its theatrical run. This is a "true" a spin-off. And that's exactly what it should be. It's the Frog Brothers, all the time the entire time. We can't get a true sequel no matter how much we may have wanted one. This is the next best thing, and on its own merits, its quite awesome in every way, shape, and form. If Warner Premier were to play it smart, they should continue on with this series by changing the title of the fourth film to The Frog Brothers: The Wolf Moon.
Or whatever may come next.
At its heart, this particular outing is really about the loss of Sam, and what it means to Edgar and Allan's relationship. What their brotherhood, and their friendship means to one another. The Lost Boys mentioned in the title were the vampires. Their hunters were secondary characters. Now we are getting them in their own iodized plot. Corey Feldman nails it home once again as the gun-loving, beef eating, macho-everyman who worships Rambo, crosses, and a good garlic spread on his late night toast snack. He's a bit depressed and, as we saw in the second film, living alone in a hovel of a trailer. He smokes the occasional pinch of dope, living up to the expectations his hippie parents set forth. He drives a bad ass truck. And he occasionally drifts in and out of the local comic book shop.
Allan is now living a sheltered life underground as a vampire desperately curbing his urge to bite people. In a great opening scene that is pulled from the comic book series (one that should make any fan ecstatic), we learn how Allan was turned. It's a glorious bit of action that calls back the climactic end battle sequence of that first film. And Sam? Well, Sam is dead. Edgar will often remember scenes from the first movie, and we see all three actors living together on screen. There is a touching tribute to Haim that finds Edgar visiting Sam's grave. It was shot before Corey passed away, but it resonates with unintended emotion, giving this particular film just the right amount of pathos. The old footage doesn't exploit the situation that lingers just outside of the frame. Instead it honors the previous work these two young actors accomplished together.
Edgar is depressed throughout the first act. He is selling off his belongs at a quickened pace. Though, he can't bear to part with his Batman #14. This is when author Gwen Lieber shows up with an offer he simply can't refuse. She is the best selling workhorse behind a series of romance novels that glorify vampirism. Disgusted, Edgar wants nothing to do with her. Yet, her intentions are good. She knows that there is a new drug on the market that is actually vampire's blood (the dusty old wine bottle has been replaced by a cocaine vile), and a small coven is slowly using this "stimulant" to turn the teen population of America into an army of the living dead.
The rest of the film is one crucified and decimated vamp after the next, as the writers figured out how to engage Edgar in battle every step of the way. They give him quite a few great moments that make this an exhilarating ride. Here is a vampire war movie mixed with a good old fashion western. It never slows down for a moment, which is quite contrary to the pacing of that second film. Gwen uses her best seller status and fortune to buy Frog whatever he needs. She also pays him an excellent wage to go forth and infiltrate the Vampire's underground bunker. But this comes with a price that he is not willing to pay himself.
Lieber's intentions are riddled with mistrust and greed. She not only wants to film Frog's exploits for a reality program, she always wants to retain the rights to this story and use it for her next book. Edgar is on the verge of saying, "Fuck you!" But he, as we know, believes in truth, justice, and the American way. Along for the ride is a camera crew and the host of a new show centering on American myths and legends. This could have been annoying, but when all but one of his crew is laid to waist early on by a bevy of monsters, we're introduced to a great new character that will surely be around for the next installment.
This third chapter is able to give us new characters we actually care about, something that second film completely failed to do. Gwen is established as a future love interest for Edgar, and we buy it. We like it. The head vampire is kind of a dud, but his Tank Girl-idolizing sidekick is pretty great. And a good foil for Edgar. Allan is absent from huge chunks of the first two acts, but he is given the Nanook moment, and the last half of the film is completely given over to The Frog Brothers as they lay waist to this emerging Vampire militia. Somehow, someway, these guys found a way to make a very fun, very entertaining film that is better than most of the big screen films hitting our Cineplex this summer. For those not lucky enough to catch it at Comic-Con 2010, the film will hit stores on October 12th, loaded with special features.
If you didn't like the second one, that is understandable. Don't let it stand in your way of seeking out this small gem of an action horror movie. If we'd never heard of The Frog Brothers, we'd be calling this a cult classic. It fully brings the Vampire Hunter back to the forefront of a genre that has been dampened by Vamps striving to be the hero. And all the innocent little girls that currently have them under that spell might disengage a bit.
At the screening, Corey Feldman told us that they are in the planning stages for three more Frog Brothers movies. Corey Haim was supposed to come back for part 4. It was already in the works. Now, they are going to bring back Laddie, Star's little brother from the first film. He will once again be played by original actor Chance Michael Corbitt. And the end of 3 alludes to the fact that we may be seeing werewolves this next time around (hence the title Wolf Moon). And as mentioned, we may even see a weekly series that will find the Frog Brothers facing all kinds of various monsters and super natural elements.
No matter how you slice it, Lost Boys: The Thirst is, if nothing else, the Frog Brothers stand alone film that we've been waiting to see. Any film that ends with Edgar and Allan locked in a tight hand grip screaming, "We are awesome monster bashers!" Is pretty great in my book. Seeing Lost Boys: The Thirst was one of the most exciting things to happen at Comic-Con 2010. Buy the DVD, if only to ensure that we get more Frog Brothers adventures. We need this fix at least two times a month.