|KIN (directors: Jonathan & Josh Baker; screenwriters: Daniel Casey, based on the short film Bag Man by Jonathan & Josh Baker; cinematographer: Larkin Seiple; editor: Mark Day; music: Mogwai; cast: Jack Reynor (Jimmy Solinski), Zoe Kravitz (Milly), Myles Truitt (Eli Solinski), Dennis Quaid (Hal Solinski), Carrie Coon (Morgan Hunter, FBI agent), James Franco (Taylor Balik), Romano Orzari (Lee Jacobs), Ian Matthews (Snick) Gavin Fox (Dutch Balik), Stephane Garneau-Monten (Remy), Lukas Penar (Big Man), Carleigh Beverly (Audrey), Lily Gao (Female Cleaner); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Jeff Arkuss, David Gross, Jesse Shapira, Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen;Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate; 2018)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
First-time director brothers Jonathan Baker and Josh Bakers present a crime thriller with a sci-fi kicker, that's based on an alien weapon being sought by the bad guys. The film is a misfire, failing each genre. It's awkwardly written by Daniel Casey and is based on the short 2014 film Bag Man by the Bakers.
It's set in the urban jungle of decaying Detroit. The nerdy, troubled, 14-year-old Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt), an orphan, is an adopted black kid by the white poor family of blue-collar widower Hal (Dennis Quaid). Eli finds a powerful otherworldly laser weapon in an abandoned building, while searching for metal scraps. He uses the ray gun to save his older ex-con screw-up brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor), just released from prison and returning to live with his tough-love unwelcoming dad, from a gang of thugs he owes $60,000. But dad is killed in the scuffle, when Jimmy tries to get the money by robbing dad's construction workplace office. The gang is led by the low-life Taylor Balik (James Franco). The gunfire from the weapon signals the gun owning alien soldiers the gun's location and they send two alien bounty hunters on motorcycles to reclaim it. Before you can say b.s., the siblings are on their way to Tahoe (mom's favorite place to visit), with Taylor, the psychotic crime lord, and his ruthless gang, also in pursuit.
On one of their rest-stops, in Nebraska, the brothers visit a seedy strip club and get to help Milly (Zoe Kravitz), the stereotypical stripper with a heart of gold, as they scare her rotten boss by using the ray gun to blow things up in the joint. They all leave the club for the road as a trio. This sequence was a waste, making the middle part of the film drag.
In the climax, Eli faces the gun's real owners and a CGI firefight ensues, which was not only absurd but seemed tacked on to give it some more action.
The film was a mess trying to blend incompatible genres together, it hardly made sense, the dialogue was clunky and the life-lessons it gives about a broken family trying to be repaired were bogus.
REVIEWED ON 9/5/2018 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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