Review: Kin

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: A teenaged boy (Myles Truitt) finds a futuristic weapon and soon winds up on the run from a vengeful criminal gang with his adopted, ex-con brother (Jack Reynor).

REVIEW: KIN feels very much like a condensed version of something that might have worked better as a Netflix TV series. Directors Jonathan & Josh Baker stuff so much world building into the rushed finale that it’ll make your head spin, giving the rest of the film the vibe of having been a low-key teaser to a bigger and better season two, although, given the Labor Day weekend release, I doubt we’ll ever see a KIN 2.

Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that it’s produced by Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps, their second big stab this month at doing for the big screen what they did for the small screen with “Stranger Things” (the other one – THE DARKEST MINDS – sank without a trace a few weeks ago). They don’t seem to have a good handle on what makes a compelling sci-fi movie, as opposed to a show, as this lacks the visceral thrill or tension it needed to make it on the big screen.

All that said, KIN isn’t really all that bad. In fact, there are moments where it’s pretty good, thanks to a likable performance from star Myles Truitt, a real discovery, and some solid supporting turns. Jack Reynor is the de facto lead, being the older, ex-con brother who returns from jail to discover his dad (Dennis Quaid – excellent in a small role) now favors his adopted brother, while his mom is dead. He’s a ne’er do well jackass who should have been insufferable, but Reynor gives him a certain empathy that goes a long way toward making this palatable.

Oddly, given the premise, the big threat isn’t the source of the futuristic weapon Truitt finds, but rather associates of Reynor’s, heading by a scenery-chewing James Franco, who he owes protection money to. After accidentally killing Franco’s brother in a gunfight, the two boys are being hunted and have to flee across country, picking up a kindly exotic dancer (Zoe Kravitz) on the way.

Given the PG-13 rating, I’m surprised at how violent KIN would up being, with Truitt regularly threating and blowing away baddies with his future gun, while a final assault on a police station by the baddies is memorably intense (even if it copies THE TERMINATOR). Add to this the score by Mogwai, and KIN is more serious than I would have thought.

Still, it’s all a little forgettable, and certainly, this will be the type of thing you forget all about once leaving the theater, even if it’s a decent watch. Again, this probably just isn’t the right market for it, and there was a time when a decent sci-fi B-movie might have been ok theatrically, but given all the competition out there, KIN is too modest to survive.




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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.