“Kin” stars Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, Zoe Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Dennis Quaid, and James Franco. Released on August 31, 2018, the film has two brothers going on the run from a vengeful criminal.
The film is directed by Jonathan Baker and Josh Baker, who directed the short film, “Bag Man”, that inspired the film. Summer vacation may be over, but that doesn’t mean the thrills have to end, either. This is another sci-fi film that was produced by Shawn Levy, who also produced “The Darkest Minds” last month and is known for his involvement in the popular Netflix series, “Stranger Things” (Great show, by the way.). After leaving “The Darkest Minds” with plenty of mixed feelings and leaving “Searching” with a bunch of good feelings, it would be interesting for me to see if this latest low-budget sci-fi action film can offer me just one more batch of late summer thrills before we start the fall movie season.
The story is a mixture of an ordinary science fiction film and a family drama that deals with brotherhood. On the sci-fi side, it involves an adopted young boy named Elijah, played by newcomer Myles Truitt, who finds a mysterious weapon in an abandoned building. On the drama side, it showcases the strained relationship between Elijah and his brother, Jimmy (Reynor), who is a former con man. The big deal with genre mixtures like this is how well the two genres fit together without emphasizing on one thing over the other. The film also has to have something that’s just as meaningful and relatable as its themes about family, which I thought was handled very well. While far from perfect, the story has enough heart and soul to display the importance of brothers, especially adoptive ones. Myles Truitt did a nice job with his performance as Elijah, and his chemistry with Reynor, who also delivered a solid performance as Jimmy, was pretty convincing. James Franco was also passable in his role as Taylor Balik, a crime lord who chases after the main characters, although that one scene involving his character does feel out-of-place considering the film’s tone. The film also displayed some nifty visual effects that fit well with its background. As for the film’s attempt to balance the two genres, let’s just say that it’s not exactly what sci-fi seekers have been hoping for. This is another case where the final cut doesn’t reflect what the marketing displayed for its intended audience. There were times where this strategy may leave audiences feeling either surprised and impressed or disappointed and angry. It’s possible that the film is an example of the latter. The trailers made the film look like a modern sci-fi action film with some bits of family drama thrown into the mix, but in reality, it’s more along the lines of a modern road-trip drama that has some small bits of action and sci-fi elements to make itself stand out from the other family dramas. The lack of memorable thrills and its third act doesn’t help that much, either. Without spoilers, the latter appears to be setting itself up for some possible follow-ups if it does well at the box office, which is quite common for most action films, especially the ones that have sci-fi elements. In my opinion, it would’ve been better off as a single film if they change the ending a bit.
Overall, “Kin” has its heart in the right place, but the uneven balance between sci-fi action and family drama may leave many thrill seekers broken-hearted. It works well as an enjoyable and heart-felt drama thanks to its cast and the Baker Brothers’ direction. However, it doesn’t change the fact that this is another film where the final cut isn’t exactly what some people are looking for based on the marketing. This is why I remain neutral when it comes to these types of situations. It helps me review films like this with an open mind. If you like dramas that deal with family, I believe that this film may or may not win you over. If you’re expecting it to be a thrilling sci-fi epic, I’m sorry to say that this isn’t it.