Review: KIN

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

In 2014, directors Jonathan and Josh Baker released a short film titled Bag Man which further inspired the inventive filmmakers to do a feature film version of the story.  Four years later, the Bakers have returned with a finished product, an entertaining movie called Kin. Though the film treads some familar ground with its criminal and familial drama, the Bakers with screenwriter Daniel Casey have given their story an interesting science fiction twist.  The end result is a fun and occasionally heartfelt movie that, if successful enough, could lead to something bigger and better.

Myles Truitt stars as Elijah Solinsky, a smart, but occasionally troublesome teen who lives with his loving adopted father Hal (Dennis Quaid).  Hal’s oldest and biological son Jimmy (Jack Reynor) gets released from prison on parole and returns home for the first time in years.  Still not happy about his son’s criminal troubles, Hal doesn’t exactly give his sdon the warmest of welcomes.  Things get even more disconcerting when trouble comes looking for Jimmy.

While in prison, Jimmy sought the protection of nasty criminal Taylor Balik (James Franco) and his crew. Now that Jimmy’s out Taylor demands a hefty payment for his protection.  After an attempt to clear his debt goes terribly awry, Jimmy and Elijah must flee the city from Taylor.  What Jimmy doesn’t know is Elijah had found a mysterious high tech weapon of unknown origin and has brought it with him. As the two brothers run for safety, both Taylor and the owners of the weapon are hot on their trail.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie and see the potential for either a great movie franchise or awesome television series.  This film probably had a limited budget, but in some ways this has worked to its benefit.  This allowed the filmmakers to focus on their story and they manage to do a descent job of it.  I will say that tgere is some questionable and lacking character development on the part of the Jimmy character, but the protagonist Elijah gets a proper treatment.  Both Reynor and Truitt perform well in these roles with Reynor giving his character charisma and likability despite his dubious motives.  Truitt brings a sweet, wide-eyed kid charm to his role and is obviously having a great time.

Franco has become a highly enjoyable actor to watch with already a good handful of colorful and larger-than-life characters in his filmmography.  Taylor Balik is no exception. Though the villain isn’t really all that dimensional, he is an absolute riot to watch onscreen.  He definitely makes him an entertaining nasty villain. Kin also features good work by Zoe Kravitz and Dennis Quaid, who is particularly good as the tough, but caring father Hal.

I have a feeling that this film isn’t going to get the attention it deserves.  The movie itself doesn’t completely blow me away, but I see the potential for expanding this world into something wonderful and fantastic.  For this main reason, I must encourage my readers to give this movie a chance. I think the movie itself is enjoyable enough on its own and I believe the Bakers have it in them to expand this as a bold and exciting franchise.

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