Kin: Review

Home » Posts » Kin: Review

Retro science fiction, if we can call it a subgenre, has been enjoying a surge in popularity lately. JJ Abrams paid homage to this style in Super 8, and the series Stranger Things became a global sensation. Producer Shawn Levy, known for directing films like Night at the Museum and Real Steel, played a significant role in Stranger Things’ success. Now, he has ventured into cinema to try his luck with a blend of nostalgia, science fiction, and retro vibes. Judging by its box office performance, Kin didn’t fare well. But does poor attendance necessarily mean it’s a bad film? Unfortunately, in this case, it does.

Eli Solinski, a young boy living with his stepfather, faces hardships from an early age. After his mother’s death and struggles at school, Eli’s life is further disrupted when his brother Jimmy returns from prison. Eli has also stumbled upon a mysterious weapon, and their lives take a tumultuous turn. Jimmy’s past sins catch up with him, leading to their father being shot. This sets off a cross-country road trip with Eli carrying not just spare fuses, but also the peculiar weapon in his bag. Things get complicated when they are pursued by a local gangster and two seemingly alien soldiers who want their weapon back.

The plot of Kin might seem straightforward, but directors Jonathan and Josh Baker, adapting their own short film Bag Man, overcomplicate matters. It’s as if they never anticipated having a $30 million budget and a cast of known actors at their disposal. The film toggles awkwardly between retro sci-fi, social drama, gangster film, and family drama, never fully committing to any of these themes. Just when you think the narrative is settling into a story about two estranged brothers reconnecting, it shifts gears and attempts a clumsy variation of The Terminator. The film culminates in a jarring twist, leaving viewers with the impression that the directors were out of their depth in handling a feature film.

Kin often feels like a fan-made film, but unfortunately, it’s from fans who can’t focus and who try to incorporate too many elements. The end product doesn’t work as drama, sci-fi, or as fan service for those nostalgic for ’80s culture, despite its aspirations to be all of these. The lackluster performances don’t help, either. James Franco falls flat as yet another generic villain, and although Jack Reynor resembles a young Chris Pratt, he lacks Pratt’s charisma and acting skills. Instead of coming across as a likable guy burdened by bad luck, Reynor’s character seems more like an unappealing, self-centered oaf.

The film’s greatest downfall, however, is its fragmented narrative. Had Kin focused on doing fewer things well, it could have been an engaging spectacle akin to Stranger Things. But that would require more compelling characters, a less frenetic storyline, and a far more assured directorial touch. Mere affection for a particular genre, style, or era isn’t enough to make a good film.

Watch Kin For Free On Gomovies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *