A Brief History
On August 31, 2018, the new sci-fi action-adventure film Kin makes its debut across the United States. Right off the bat, the first thing I thought when I watched this film was, “Why didn’t they spend more on advertising?” Obviously, I thought this because I loved the movie. So did the audience, although my partner was only okay with the film. Proof that I am the superior judge of film value! Directors Jonathan and Josh Baker have crafted a movie centered on the angst of a 14 year old boy in the middle of a gang war compounded by some sort of other worldly influence and weaponry. Is it alien or time travelers? The movie never makes that clear, but what is clear is excellent acting and great special effects. People get shot, blown up, and inanimate objects are blown to smithereens. My kind of film!
The movie centers on a troubled 14 year old orphan, played unusually well by newcomer Myles Truitt, who is adopted by blue collar and no-nonsense Dennis Quaid. Quaid’s biological son, Jimmy, played by Jack Reynor, is a neer do well 20 something that just got out of prison after 6 years of hard time. The family dynamic is troubling, to say the least, but is necessary to set the stage for the film. Without providing spoilers (which we try to avoid), we can tell you the 14 year old Eli finds an other-worldly sort of electronic rifle/ray gun sort of weapon. The trouble that Jimmy gets into with owing big bucks to a sleazy gangster chief played unerringly by consummate acting genius James Franco (this guy is incredible!) spills over into the affairs of Dad (Dennis Quaid) and invariably affects Eli.
After some tense action, Jimmy takes Eli on a road trip, and along the way hooks up with the hooker with a heart of gold stereotypical character played by the fetching Zoe Kravitz (daughter of singer Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet), although this time she is an exotic dancer instead of a hooker. The newly formed 3 Amigos travel across the country having rather interesting adventures (things blow up, shots are fired) totally oblivious to the fact that Franco and his hoods are in pursuit as are a pair of mysterious beings trying to run down the lost special weapon. Are these guys aliens or time travelers from the future, or maybe from a parallel dimension? The movie never tells us.
As stated earlier, the less discriminating half of the History and Headlines movie review team was only in the “liking” the movie category, while this reviewer was pretty much wild about the film. I am not sure what I expected, but I was terrifically pleased with what I got. Normally not a fan of child actors, I think Myles Truitt played an exceptional part. Jack Reynor was convincing as a sleaze-ball unreliable petty thief and irresponsible shyster, while Dennis Quaid was virtually the perfect icon of stern, sober Dad. Zoe Kravitz is hot, which is enough for most (male) movie goers!
The big action scene and reveal at the end of the film tied things together and left me wondering if there was a sequel planned. If there is, I would definitely go see it. We recommend Kin for virtually the entire family, unless young children (10 years old or less) are particularly sensitive to violence. Again, too bad they did not market the film more, as I fear many sci-fi fans may miss this excellent movie. Enjoy!
Questions for students: Another critic gave this film an “F” primarily because its protagonist is a boy who uses a large gun to defeat his enemies. The critic saw that as somehow paralleling recent tragic school shootings. Given that the gun in question is not a weapon that exists outside of fiction and that the boy uses it to defend himself and his brother from criminal assailants, do you think this Entertainment Weekly‘s critic’s criticisms are fair? Why or why not?
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For more information, please see…
De Forest, Sloan. Turner Classic Movies: Must-See Sci-fi: 50 Movies That Are Out of This World. Running Press Adult, 2018.