Cast: Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, Zoe Kravitz, Carrie Coon
Directors: Jonathan and Josh Baker
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: KIN, a pulse-pounding crime thriller with a sci-fi twist, is the story of an unexpected hero destined for greatness. Chased by a vengeful criminal (James Franco), the feds and a gang of otherworldly soldiers, a recently released ex-con (Jack Reynor) and his adopted teenage brother (Myles Truitt) are forced to go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin as their only protection.
After A.X.L. came out last week, I was certain that it would hold the title for most generic movie of 2018. Then, Kin was released. I knew as soon as I saw a trailer for this movie where a running sequence was shown shaking all over the place that we would be in for a rough time, but I was not expecting this. The characters are reprehensible, the plot is nonsensical, and the embarrassing cinematography turn Kin from a film that should have been a reasonable, 102 minute popcorn movie into an absolute mess that is a rough time to get through.
The film follows Eli (Truitt), a teenager who while scavenging for supplies in abandoned buildings finds a super powered gun. During this time, his older brother Jimmy (Reynor), gets out of prison and has a debt to pay to Taylor (James Franco), a local strongman who helped Jimmy survive his time in prison. After an incident between Jimmy and Taylor, Jimmy and Eli are forced to flee Detroit for their own safety with the mysterious gun in tow. Starting off with the characters, I absolutely loathed Jimmy and everything that he did to impact Eli’s life. There is a difference between creating characters that are morally complex and those who are just moronically bad, and instead of getting a unique, interesting case of the former, we get a dull, uninspired case of the latter. There are multiple scenes where not only was I confused with Jimmy’s decision-making, but oftentimes I was just straight up angry with his choices. Jimmy never took responsibility for his actions and repeatedly made the worst decision possible with no real explanation as to why he did it. Outside of Jimmy, the worst performance of the movie is by far Zoe Kravitz. Kravitz plays Milly, a stripper who drifts from town to town until she gets enough money to move onto the next one. In her initial stripper role, it is abundantly clear that Kravitz is uncomfortable shooting these scenes, as none of her body language and movements feel natural. The ways around this are either to recast the character with someone who is more comfortable with the material, or rewrite the character so she does not have to shoot those scenes. In the scenes where she is not stripping, here delivery is stale and her character is pretty generic. I can give her a small pass here because she was not given a lot to work with in the script, but her acting ability did nothing to help this movie. Moving onto the story, there is absolutely no connection between the two storylines as to how they relate to one another. The story of Eli’s gun and Jimmy’s life of crime are in no way related to one another and it propels Jimmy’s stupid decision-making to the next level. These stories culminate in an ending that makes absolutely no sense and that seems like it was hastily thrown together in an afternoon. With about 10 minutes left in the film, I legitimately had no idea what was going on anymore, and this was not due to some next-level cinema-shaping twist, it was due to their being no setup for the conclusion and massive details that needed explanation in order for them to make sense. Finally, I want to take the time to make announcement to all cinematographers who make action movies in the future. I have a piece of advise that all of you need to take before you shoot any sort of running or action sequence. Please, for the love of God, mount you camera. I saw this film in an IMAX theatre and had borderline motion sickness from just how scattered these shots were. I had a feeling this film was going to be a mess before I watched it, but moments like these are ones that really push it over the edge and make it a film that could have been watchable to one that I would try to avoid.
Overall, if this film did not take itself so seriously, it could have ended up being a goofy, laidback action movie like The Hurricane Heist. Instead, we get a film that nobody in the movie realizes is poorly acted, badly written, and shot in the messiest of ways. At least James Franco has the awareness to understand that this movie is a joke and his presence adds a subtle level of both humor and absurdity that the film was sorely missing. If this movie had been filled with cheesy one-liners and actors like Franco, realistically it could have been a pretty fun time. Instead, we ended up with a movie that is boring, distasteful, and nauseating to watch.
Overall Score: 2.5/10