Kin: Review

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I don’t know if there is such a thing as a subgenre of retro science fiction, but in any case, science fiction stories that breathe the atmosphere of the eighties have been very popular recently. JJ Abrams paid homage to them in Super 8 and the Stranger Things series became a global megahit. It was Shawn Levy, the director of Nights at the Museum of Steel Fists who helped him to the world as a producer. Now he has decided to try if he can succeed in cinemas with the combination of nostalgia, science fiction, and retro feeling. If you follow sales, you probably know that it didn’t work out. Almost no one came to Kin do Kin (I had to write that, sorry). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad movie. But unfortunately, it is.

Eli Solinski, who lives with his stepfather, doesn’t have it easy. Mom died, he gets soda at school and sometimes steals a little. But now his life will change for two reasons. His brother Jimmy returns from prison and especially during his travels he finds a thing that looks like a weapon, but rather strange. And then it’s a bummer. Because of Jimmy’s past, Dad ends up with a bullet in his stomach, and Eli and his brother go on a road trip across America. And in his bag, in addition to spare fuses, he also has this strange rifle, which will come in handy, because Jimmy is now after a local gangster, and two apparently alien soldiers also appear on the scene. And they want their pub back.

At first glance, the story of Kin doesn’t look complicated, unfortunately, the directors Jonathan and Josh Baker, who are adapting their own Bag Man short here, are trying hard to cram in an awful lot of stuff. As if they didn’t really count on the fact that someone would give them thirty million, a few more famous actors, and a free hand to goof off. Unfortunately, there is an awful lot of it. Kin is constantly changing from retro sci-fi to social drama, gangster, or family drama, and it doesn’t have time to properly focus on any of it. So, as soon as I tuned in to the fact that two brothers are looking for a way to each other after years, the situation changes with the snap of a finger and the directors try for a possibly sincere, but slightly sloppy variation on the Terminator. And then the whole thing ends with such a crazy twist that the feeling that they didn’t really know how to deal with a feature film starts to border on certainty.

Kin really seems like a fan film, but unfortunately from fans who don’t know peace and fight everything they can think of. The result doesn’t really work as drama, sci-fi, or fan service for 80s culture lovers, even though it really wants to be all of those things. Of course, the situation is not helped by the fact that James Franco is playing just another of his goons and that Jack Reynor may look like a younger version of Chris Pratt, but unfortunately, he lacks his charisma and acting skills. Rather than a likable guy to whom bad luck sticks, he struck me as an unsympathetic and selfish ox.

Play the trailerThe biggest problem, however, remains the fragmentation and the feeling that if Kin wasn’t trying to do so many things at once, it could quite easily be a nice spectacle in the style of Stranger Things. But there would have to be more interesting heroes, a less impetuous story, and a significantly surer director’s hand. Obvious love for a genre, style, and era is not enough to make a good film.

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