A storyline that feels far more condensed than it deserves to, the Jonathan and Josh Baker-directed Kin would’ve best been presented as a Netflix series of sorts instead of the overly stuffed, uneven science-fiction-come-road-drama it ultimately plays out as.
It’s not that Kin is a bad film per se, it’s just that it feels like it has a lot to tell on the science-fiction side of things. Ultimately, it doesn’t delve overtly deep enough along the course of the 100 minute running time, so when it arrives at its kinetic finale, the information on hand feels rushed to the point that we feel like we’ve missed an entire film’s worth.
Before said finale though, Daniel Casey’s script adopts a more casual tone, focusing on the broken relationship between young Elijah (newcomer Myles Truitt, a real find) and his older brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor), the latter having just been released from prison. Jimmy’s homecoming is something of a non-event for Elijah but for their father Hal (Dennis Quaid, effective in a brief support turn) it’s a reminder of heartache and disappointment.
Jimmy’s the type of character that we shouldn’t root for in any manner, he’s untrustworthy and irresponsible, and much of the trouble he and Elijah face on their eventual road trip (the reasoning for such impromptu travel plans just one of the many inexcusable actions Jimmy’s responsible for) is at his hands, but Reynor manages to infuse the character with an air of empathy that makes us not entirely loathe him. It also helps Jimmy’s case that he’s a far more likeable character than that of Taylor (James Franco, chewing the scenery as expected), a crime lord who Jimmy once worked for and owes a serious debt to.
So far this plot synopsis sounds supremely un-sci-fi like, and had Kin not occasionally implemented cutting shots surrounding a duo of helmeted bikers hunting down a futuristic weapon – a weapon that Elijah just so happens to stumble upon – the film would hardly feel like an actioner at all. Casey’s script seems more intent on exploring the brotherly bond between Jimmy and Elijah, as well as humanising Jimmy that much more by introducing Milly (a likeable Zoe Kravitz), a stripper with a heart of gold (yes, we’re still sticking with that archetype in 2018), that anything remotely action-based or futuristic feels wildly out of place.
Whilst I can applaud the Baker brothers for attempting something different within the genre, a little more action, and perhaps some levity, could’ve greatly advantaged Kin overall. Lightly entertaining but instantly forgettable, Kin is far too modest to survive in the current climate of cinema.
KIN, a pulse-pounding crime thriller with a sci-fi twist, is the story of an unexpected hero destined for greatness. Chased by a vengeful criminal (James Franco) and a gang of otherworldly soldiers, a recently released ex-con (Jack Reynor) and his adopted teenage brother (Myles Truitt) are forced to go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin as their only protection.
Kin (M) is screening in Australian cinemas from Thursday 30th August 2018.