Kin Movie Review
Kin is the prequel to a movie that was never made. From first-time filmmakers Josh and Jonathan Baker comes a sci-fi action movie that stretches the opening act of a story over an hour and a half, leaving about 15 minutes at the end for their concept to truly take form—and even then, only in nebulous fashion.
The result is a confused slog of a movie that isn’t quite terrible but clearly doesn’t know what it wants to be.
Kin centers around a young guy (Jack Reynor), who is supposed to be the lead protagonist but is such an awful human being it’s hard to feel any compassion for him whatsoever. In an attempt to get out of a $60K debt to a local gangster (played by James Franco, because why not), he decides to rob his father’s workplace, which in turn gets his dad (played by Dennis Quaid, because why not) killed. He then flees with his younger, adopted brother (Myles Truitt), doesn’t tell him their dad is dead, and then takes the teen to a strip club where a stripper (Zoë Kravitz) makes yet another poor life decision by joining them on their dangerous road trip.
Oh, and the younger brother has a giant, futuristic weapon that he recovered from a warehouse full of dead, potentially alien bodies.
The big problem with Kin is that the Baker boys devote so much time to the generic aspects of their story—everything I described above sans the futuristic weapon—that the whole sci-fi angle feels like a complete afterthought. The weapon gets fired a couple times to scare some bad guys, but it’s never pivotal to the plot—at least until the end, which seems to hint at more interesting things to come in a movie that will almost assuredly never be made.
Essentially, and this may be a bad example, Kin is the equivalent to the first Harry Potter, only if the entire book/movie was devoted to Harry’s shitty life with the Dursleys, with him being a wizard only revealed in the story’s waning moments (for the record, I’d still buy that book and/or watch that movie).
Had the Baker boys shortened Kin’s plot to 20 minutes and then moved into the sci-fi story they theoretically want to tell, they might have been onto something. The movie’s climax is pretty decent, with a fair amount of spectacle for a $30 million budget. And the “twist” at the end at least hints at something slightly unique, or at least more entertaining than what was ultimately delivered to audiences.
Kin was promoted as a “non-stop sci-fi action adventure” that is about “family, adulthood, mystery, and time,” and yet it is none of those things. With exception to the climax, there is almost no action or science fiction. There is mystery, but it isn’t the focus of the film. As for time… well, maybe that is something that would have been explored in the sequel that will never get made.
And should never get made.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.