Hot Take: In a not so distant future, Mystery Science Theater 3000 will make another comeback and Kin will be one of the modern movies it takes a shot at and we’ll all laugh our asses off.
How did Kin get green lighted? Not only did the film get the green light from Lionsgate, Kin drew the attention of a pretty stellar cast featuring relative newcomer Myles Truitt in the starring role surrounded by a veteran supporting cast including Dennis Quaid, James Franco, Jack Reynor and Zoe Kravitz. Plus, there’s an odd Michael B. Jordan cameo. All that being said, the Sci-Fi thriller about a young boy finding a space gun and then heading out on a road trip with his estranged, recently freed from incarceration, adopted brother after their dad was killed in a botched robbery is hilariously bad. It’s campy but there’s no evidence that it’s on purpose. It’s ridiculous right down to it’s oversized, box shaped gun that only works for certain people. Kin is not a good film but it’s bad enough to be entertaining and keep you at least wondering how it will wrap up. I guess that’s positive, right?
In Kin, Eli (Truitt) is struggling with the recent passing of his mother. At school, he’s had trouble with the other kids and even got suspended for punching another student after they made a comment about his mom. At home, his adopted dad (Quaid) is extra tough on him but doing what he can to raise Eli as a widower. His adopted brother Jimmy (Reynor) has come home from a stint in prison and it’s obvious that Jimmy and dad’s relationship isn’t great, either. Jimmy reaches out to dad for money to help him pay a debt to a local crime lord (Franco) but $60,000 ($60,000????) is too much and Jimmy is on his own. While all this is going on, Eli found a space gun during one of his runs to scrap metal for money. (You can see where this one is headed even without a trailer to help you there.) Eventually, dad figures out Eli is scrapping metal and breaking into his company’s work sites and stealing the scrap metal. To teach Eli a lesson, he takes him down to his office to call all of the customers to apologize. When they arrive, Jimmy is there with Taylor (the crime lord) and robbing dad’s safe. While trying to reason with Taylor, dad is shot and killed while Jimmy kills Taylor’s brother. While escaping, Jimmy sees Eli sitting in dad’s truck and jumps in and sells Eli on a convoluted story about how dad asked him to take Eli on a road trip because dad was hit with a long project at work. Eli doesn’t know better and goes along for the ride.
The convoluted plot devolves into a nonsensical road trip with Jimmy running far from Taylor unbeknownst to Eli while Eli is being hunted (unbeknownst to both of them) by the previous owners of the weapon Eli found. Eventually, Zoe Kravitz appears as stripper Milly and joins the duo after an incident at the strip club the brothers end up at (Eli’s 15 years old, by the way) and a run-in occurs with the strip club’s owner. This is the first time we get to see the firepower Eli is in possession of in action and it’s loud and does a lot of damage. Oh and it has a tracker that allows the owners to hone in on Eli’s location. Oh, and since Jimmy didn’t tell Eli what happened to dad, Eli’s phone call to dad gives away their location to Taylor since he has dad’s phone.
As nonsensical as the plot is, for some reason there’s some entertainment value here. Maybe because it’s so damn bad, it’s easy to have a chuckle at the film’s expense. The film delivers some bad James Franco who is completely over-the-top as the bad guy. The gun is ridiculous but it’s hard to believe a 15-year-old’s curiosity can hold off from firing the weapon as long as he does especially considering he found the weapon in what’s essentially an abandoned work site in the middle of the night. Typically, a strip club in the middle of nowhere is a little looser on the rules when it comes to nudity and dancing but brothers Jimmy and Eli end up in the one strip club in the middle of nowhere that doesn’t even allow the girls to go completely topless. It’s just a mess.
Kin is not worth a trip to the theater. It might not even be worth checking out on a streaming device or on cable once it makes the rounds. Well, unless at some point the shadow of Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot and whomever the human sidekick is at the time grace the film’s presence and provide snarky jokes and enhance the laughs that are already occurring in your head. Then, and only then, is Kin probably ready for a viewing.
That crush on Zoe Kravitz won’t let you skip this one.
Remember when you got suckered into watching A Dog’s Purpose because Dennis Quaid was in it and how bad could the film be if Dennis Quaid agreed to be in it?