Chased by a vengeful criminal, the feds and a gang of otherworldly soldiers, a recently released ex-con and his adopted teenage brother are forced to go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin as their only protection.
Elijah is a nice boy in an unfriendly world. Living in mean Detroit, his single father Hal (Dennis Quaid) is raising him to be a young man of integrity, hoping to instill in him the values and morals he will need to survive in life. After the passing of his wife, Hal is more determined than ever to raise their adopted son better, and avoid any mistakes they made with their reckless, prison-dwelling son, Jimmy. While stealing metal to scrap in an abandoned building, Elijah stumbles upon an otherworldly scene – strange, superhuman soldiers, lying on the ground with extremely unique and powerful weapons. Frightened Elijah runs home, where he learns that his estranged brother Jimmy will be joining the family for dinner – he’s been released from prison. Curious still, Eli awakes from a dream pointing him to the strange weapon. He returns to the building to find the scene gone, but the weapon remains. When Eli brings home this mysterious weapon it seems only he can control, he has no clue what events are about to unfold.
Little does Elijah know, his big brother Jimmy is in debt thousands of dollars to a wickedly violent drug dealer named Taylor (James Franco with a jerry curl). After a robbery gone wrong, Jimmy takes Elijah on the run – with the weapon. During their travels they meet a beautiful exotic dancer named Milly (Zoe Kravits) who funnily enough seems to have more sense than both of them. This unlikely trio sets off on a whirlwind dash across the west, running from police, drug dealers, super soldiers, and their problems.
Let me start off by saying that I really liked this film. The plot and the interesting characters give you a lot to like. You have some characters that are blatantly evil, but you can see where they’re coming from. You’ve got a smart, caring exotic dancer who is basically the maternal voice of the film, a father with character and integrity who only seems to be listened to after it’s too late. You’ve got Sci-Fi, you’ve got danger, motorcycle chases, otherworldly super soldiers (known as “Cleaners”, which we only learn through the end credits), a mysterious weapon, and way too much violence.
Kin should be about what it’s named after, family. And there are obvious plot points regarding brother/brother relationships and father/son relationships. Family is a concept woven into the film, but it’s never fully flushed out. There are some nice moments, and although it’s a very gritty film, if you look well enough you can find them. I think one thing the producers/writers (who are also brothers themselves) got right were settle these relationships up subtly. Another thing they nailed, although it may frustrate most people, is the suspense and drama. You see, we never actually find out what’s going on, not until the last ten minutes of the film – after suffering through countless stripteases, violence and debauchery. In some ways this works to the film’s favor, and in other ways it’s just downright frustrating. Those last ten minutes are crucial, and possibly the best set up for a sequel I’ve ever seen. Not only does it leave you with a dozen questions, but it demands that we have another film to see more. Who are the Cleaners? Where are they from? What will happen to Elijah and Jimmy?
We’ll have to wait until the next film to find out. And I’m actually looking forward to that film.
Kin has a promising premise that never quite delivers on substance. Claiming to be a family oriented drama with sci-fi elements, this film starts heavy and confusing, only managing to deliver a few satisfying, heartwarming moments – in-between violence, sex and drugs. This may be one of those rare instances where the sequel will be better than the original!
Unfortunately, due to strong language, sexual situations and violence, dove.org cannot award Kin the Dove Seal of Approval.