Note: This is a spoiler-free Kin movie review
The sci-fi genre has made a comeback of sorts, but only in a very specific way. Comic book movies and the reboot of the Star Wars franchise are huge, but those movies consider themselves more fantasy than sci-fi. They’ve also fallen victim to the same disease plaguing the entire film industry no matter how good, which is an extension or reboot of a franchise that has already proven a money maker. No risk in that.
Sci-fi, above all other genres, is a class for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. It begs for wonderment and suspension of belief. The latest sci-fi film takes its best shot at just that.
Though it lacks direction at times, Kin deserves credit for being an original sci-fi idea at a time in Hollywood when those are lacking.
I wouldn’t be able to talk about how original the story is unless I give you a gist of the story, right? Right.
So a teenage kid (Eli) finds a gun from an unfamiliar origin. At the same time his brother, who just got out of jail after six years, is on the run and is forced to take his little brother with him. Eli slowly but sure figures out how to use his found weapon, while simultaneously being chased by a guy who wants to kill his brother, the actual owners of the gun, and the FBI.
Seem like a lot to pack into one movie? That’s because it is. More on that later, but for now let’s cater to your inner sci-fi nerd.
Kin On And Off The Screen
The best part about Kin is that it’s different. The unfamiliar origin seems to have some advanced technology, and when they show it off it makes for some cool scenes.
Speaking of different, when Eli starts firing that gun he found, look out. It’s something to witness and, more importantly, stay out of the way of. In short, the movie’s payoff in the final half hour is perfectly entertaining.
Credit to writer/directors Jonathan & Josh Baker for the originality. Kin started as a short film that got the green light to become a Hollywood film. It has the feel of a passion project for the first-time feature-length filmmakers, and the idea of the “little guy making it big” shows in the story. Credit to both of them for going for it and not making a cookie cutter movie.
A Role Akin To The Past
The acting performances are hit and miss, with James Franco standing out from the crowd. He plays Taylor — who is ready to kill Eli’s brother Jimmy — and recalls his performance of Alien in Spring Breakers to do it. He doesn’t go full Alien — because a treasure of a performance like that can only be reserved for one movie — but Franco does solidify how well he can play that creepy, manipulative, gun-happy criminal role in this film.
Kin is a fun watch at times but also lacks in other places. For me, the main culprit here is just a general lack of entertainment throughout. Some of that is too much packed into a movie that only lasts 1 hour 42 minutes.
A lot of characters are ducking in and out and, as a result, the character development is pretty lacking. Carrie Coon is probably the best, most established actor in the film and she’s in it for 5 minutes at the most.
While “Kin” entertains with action and sci-fi creativity, I just wish that entertainment was more consistent.
All that said, there is one more reason to see Kin not related to anything I just said. If you like actors unexpectedly popping up at important parts, this movie has a good one. I won’t give it away here because I’m a good person.
Should I see Kin?
If you’re a traditional sci-fi fan in search of a movie with some creativity, Kin has its moments for you. If not, this one can wait for the cable release.
(Featured Image via Lionsgate)