As the summer winds down and the kiddies head back to the classroom, Hollywood begins releasing its more lackluster fare; those films that probably wouldn’t have held up very well amidst the season’s big blockbuster movies.
Typically, there’s a good reason why these flicks are released in this near straight-to-video way, but the new film, Kin, breaks from that tradition and is actually a satisfying little sci-fi film that is so much better than what I had anticipated.
It’s being touted as “from the producers of Arrival and Stranger Things” and while it’s true that two of the nine credited producers are also associated with that much better film and Netflix series, respectfully, Kin does not reach that high level of entertainment.
Directed by brothers, Jonathan and Josh Baker, and based on their short film, Bag Man, the story here is fairly simple.
A young, adopted, African-American boy, Eli (Myles Truitt), finds a powerful alien weapon in an abandoned warehouse. He ends up on the run with his white, ex-convict brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor), trying to escape mobsters and the mysterious soldiers who want their fancy gun back.
While on the road, the two fugitives hook up with Milly (Zoë Kravitz) at a PG-13 strip-club and the three develop a kinship while Jimmy keeps a devastating secret about his and Eli’s father (played by Dennis Quaid.)
When the unlikely trio faces dangers from various rednecks and mobsters, Eli’s alien weapon comes in handy, saving the day in video-game-like BFG fashion; because, as we all know that the only thing that can stop a bad-guy with a gun is a good-guy with a big freaking alien gun!
This film also stars an over-the-top James Franco as the lead, crazy bad-guy; and Carrie Coon (Fargo TV series), who shows up late in the game as a confused FBI agent (a rather throwaway role.)
Kin is definitely not related to common sense or logic and should probably not be thought about too hard in those terms. This is not the heady-stuff like we observed in Arrival. Nevertheless I mostly enjoyed this movie and I give it props for its attempted messaging on diversity and family, as well as for some fine performances and nice cinematography by Larkin Seiple (Swiss Army Man.) Grade: 6/10
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