Kin (2018) – Review


    Kin centres on Eli (Myles Truitt), a 14-year-old adopted by down-to-earth but strict father, Hal (Dennis Quaid, G.I. Joe). Eli picks up scrap metal from junkyards around the city of Detroit to sell and make some side money.

    Hal’s biological son, Jimmy (Jack Reynor, The Man With The Iron Heart), finishes his six-year prison time and comes home, beginning the (shortlived) family drama. It turns out Jimmy owes mobster leader Taylor (James Franco) $60,000 of prison protection money.

    Hal is shot and killed when he walks into his office when Taylor and Jimmy are stealing from his safe. Jimmy runs off with the money and flees to Iowa with Eli, where they meet a friendly stripper, Milly (Zoë Kravitz, Divergent trilogy).

    That’s not before Eli chances upon a futuristic rifle with a holographic scope that suddenly activates when he touches it, among several corpses that look a lot like Star Troopers from Star Wars. As ridiculous as it sounds, Kin makes an intriguing start. The only problem is how quickly the story and every character decision become ludicrous.

    What’s frustrating is how the movie starts off with all the Sci-Fi mysteries behind the ray gun Eli found, but it’s used more of a plot device throughout the film. What’s worse is how little screentime the destructive weapon has! The audience is supposed to sit through more than half of the movie before we actually get an inkling of what the weapon is capable of.

    Kin has pathetically few sci-fi elements that ultimately fall flat because it tries to be too many things. The film is confused about whether it wants to focus on a duo of otherworldly soldiers and the alien weapon, the suburban underworld, or a coming-of-age drama.

    The performances are great — newcomer Truitt and budding Reynor have convincing chemistry on screen. Quaid makes a short but impactful appearance too, possibly too impactful as his Hal is the only memorable character from start to end. Milly as a character does Kravitz no justice at all, and Franco has little to show in a character only obsessed with revenge.

    All that said, the balance between practical and visual effects is worth mentioning, the one thing the movie does right. However, 102 minutes of mostly bad storytelling, bad character writing, and just overall bad execution, are not worth sitting through for a brief moment of visual pleasure.

    Summary: A total misfire on its storytelling, characters, and execution, Kin disappoints with an intriguing but badly fleshed out plot.

    RATING: 2 out of 5 stars

    – Vance Wong