Review by Bradley Smith
Bing has about 90 synonyms for “boring”, I wonder how many I squeeze into one review. Because Kin has potential, but ultimately was unimaginative and lifeless except for maybe the last 10 minutes or so when all the disparate storylines come together. The synopsis stated a “pulse-pounding crime thriller with a sci-fi twist”. But the main thread is more of a dull family drama with the lackluster crime thriller and sci-fi twist mostly woven into the background. There are some worthwhile special effects and I wouldn’t say I disliked the film, but I did find myself checking my watch more than a few times.
Myles Truitt stars as Elijah Solinski, an adopted son to Dennis Quaid’s Hal Solinski. Hal is tough on Elijah, trying to mold him into a decent human being. But Elijah gets suspended and spends his free time earning extra money by stealing scrap from seemingly abandoned properties. While salvaging, Elijah stumbles across numerous dead bodies and a futuristic weapon that is featured in just about every commercial I’ve seen.
Hal’s biological son, Jimmy (Jack Reynor), returns home to get back on his feet after a stint in prison. But Jimmy’s prison life is not behind him. It is soon revealed that Jimmy became indebted to a crime boss, Taylor (dryly played by James Franco). After a failed attempt to pay off the debt with stolen funds, Jimmy takes Elijah and the money and flees the state with Taylor following not at all close behind.
Being the responsible older brother that he is, Jimmy takes Elijah to an adult club for some “performance art”. The two mingle and grab the attention of the performers as well as security, who remain inactive until Jimmy tries to dance with one of the girls on stage. This is when we get the first shot of what the mystery weapon’s capabilities. Up to this point, Elijah had kept it hidden, only occasionally testing a few settings and somehow not accidentally blowing holes in the confined spaces he occupied. One of the dancers, Milly (Zoe Kravitz), joins the boys in their escape and for a while the road trip duo becomes a trio.
The film touches on the sci-fi side occasionally. Two people, which are identified as “cleaners” in the credits, appear (off-screen through what sounded like a type of portal) in the warehouse where Elijah found the weapon. They are shown periodically using advanced technology to track the weapon. Personally, I would’ve loved to see more of these two and their tech rather than the foolish and/or dull antics of Jimmy, Elijah, and even Taylor.
Most of Taylor’s scenes between the failed robbery and the climax are either driven by happenstance or serve no useful purpose to the plot. I.e. twice Taylor gets a lead on Jimmy by accident because of Jimmy’s carelessness. And the convenience store scene when he needs to use the bathroom could be removed and it would not hurt the story one iota.
Therein lies one of my problems with the film, there are more than a few of those scenes. But also, some of the scenes that do advance the plot aren’t well thought out, poorly executed, or not very realistic. Take, for example, a scene in which the brothers are retrieving “their” money from a room full of criminals with guns at poker tables. The second the brothers leave that room with “their” money, all the criminals grab their guns and start chasing the brothers. Yet, with no prior knowledge of the layout and falling (likely for dramatic effect), the brothers get a sizable lead ahead of the criminals.
The more I think about what to write, the less of the movie I like. The climax of the film is almost worth sitting through everything beforehand. The separate storylines come together for a classic showdown with the promised sci-fi twist. You got the brothers and inept cops on one side, Taylor and his crew on another, FBI agents and SWAT outside, and the cleaners show up to reveal their purpose and shed some light of the mystery gun. My favorite scene in the movie is when the cleaners ride in on their stolen motorcycles, one hits a police car, flips off the bike over the car and lands standing straight up walking forward (it’s in the trailer, check it out).
The visual effects are very good, especially, again, in roughly the last 10 minutes, though the cutaways to the cleaners early on also provide some visual stimulation. Available in stores on Tuesday, November 20.