Thursday, August 30, 2018

It's not relative: 'Kin' is a misfire

I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to make a movie about a 14-year-old kid who acquires a super-charged weapon and then takes a road trip with his ex-con brother and a stripper. I guess the ignominy rests on the shoulders of the Baker Brothers (Jonathan and Josh), siblings who have expanded their short film Bag Man into a feature that's tainted by bad judgment. Likable young Myles Truitt may have a future as an actor, but even if he were an emerging Olivier, he couldn't turn this cinematic folly into something worthwhile. Truitt plays Eli, the adopted son of a gruff Detroit widower (Dennis Quaid). When Eli's ex-convict stepbrother (Jack Reyner) shows up, the family is sucked into the orbit of a vicious low-life criminal (James Franco in full over-drive mode). Zoe Kravitz's character enters the movie when Rayner's Jimmy takes his younger brother to a strip club as part of their road adventures. The brothers are trying to get away from Franco's character, a vengeful thug who killed their father during a robbery Jimmy arranged in order to pay off a $60,000 debt. Now about that super-weapon: Early on, Eli is scavenging in an abandoned factory when he discovers a weapon that's about the size of an AR-15. The "ray gun" (as Jimmy eventually refers to it) was left by armor-clad figures who fight a battle during the movie's prologue. Are these strange combatants aliens from another world? The movie, which flirts with sci-fi, answers this question during its finale by hammering an explanation onto the already overamped action. Carrie Coon shows up in the latter going as an FBI agent, adding to a viewer's sense of disorientation. (By viewer, I mean me.) What's a fine actress doing in this misbegotten misfire? Sometimes a movie goes wrong here and there, but you pretty much understand what the filmmakers were after. Kin goes wrong almost from the start. Trying to treat a 14-year-old's visit to a strip club as a fun adventure (at least for a while) and then allowing the same kid to blast away at various foes shatters any sense of propriety the movie might have had. Shameful.

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