“Kin” is the sort of colossal miscalculation that makes you wonder who got fired for making it.
Not the Baker Brothers, Jonathan and Josh, whose short film “Bag Man” SOMEbody at Summit/Lionsgate decided would make a swell feature. It’s that SOMEbody that one figures is looking for work this Labor Day weekend.
But first, the good news. The late late LATE third act special effects — “bullet-stop-time” and “portal” and dot-matrix holographic “memories” of an event that took place earlier make a good proof of concept clip for say, the Coen Brothers, the Hughes Brothers or the Wachowski No-Longer-Brothers.
Dennis Quaid, highly-billed, plays the father of the kid and the prodigal ex-con other son whom the film is about, and mercifully is killed-off early in the first act.
And James Franco, as Taylor the insane tattoo’d heavy hilariously and ridiculously obsessed with the music of Joni Mitchell, is already in the career doghouse thanks to #MeToo. This can’t do him much harm.
The Baker Brothers? Youtube beckons.
Eli, played by newcomer Myles Truitt, was adopted by Hal (Quaid), a struggling contractor whose wife died and left him with little to take care of the kid with. Boy wants sneakers? He’s got to scrap — scavenge for copper wiring, pipes, etc. in Detroit’s sea of empty homes and factories.
That’s how he comes across the remains of a firefight straight out of science fiction. Headless android-like corpses don’t phase him. He’s a fan of the “Terminator” video game (HINT HINT). So he picks up a futureweapon, a laser rifle, and takes it home.
Step-brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor, sort of Chris Pratt lite) is home after six years in prison, still in hock to mobster Taylor (Franco), still not getting any help from his had-enough Dad. So he sets up a robbery to get the money, and gets his father killed.
Jimmy lies and lies and talks Eli into taking a cross country road trip in Dad’s truck, not telling him their father is dead and not letting on in the least that he feels any remorse. Because Jimmy or actor Jack Reynor playing him is incapable of expressing remorse. Badly pitched performance, all the way round, though he handles the weak one-liners well enough.
“You into performance art, Eli?” He’s talking about strippers.
They’re being followed by sci-fi storm troopers who steal motorcycles to chase them, and by Tay-Tay’s suicidally committed gang. And then the brothers bust up a strip club, and a stripper (Zoe Kravitz, who deserves better) joins them on the road. They’re just lucky the strip club gang doesn’t join the chase. But no, even though we’ve seen the walls of this joint blown open, leaving a fully-stocked bar and everything else here for the grabbint, the owner and his boys have closed up and gone off to play poker.
The inanity/insanity goes on and on, with the 14 year-old first fondling and posing with the cannon he quickly comes to understand, and then carrying out a heist with it, threatening anybody who threatens him and his brother.
“Dad’s not going to be cool with ANY of this!”
Because even though Eli can’t figure out his brothers’ blizzard of lies and didn’t hear the nearby gunshots that killed his father, he’s laser gun savvy.
I hated this clunker long before the third act “twists” that are supposed to make it better, make it make sense and give us hope that this is a future franchise.
Because their fondest hope is my idea of a Dog of August nightmare. And as I said, Youtube beckons.
Only Franco seems to be having any fun, and his is of the psychotic variety. At least we’re relieved to see there were no barely legal or illegally young women in the cast for him to prey upon.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for gun violence and intense action, suggestive material, language, thematic elements and drinking
Cast: Myles Truitt, Dennis Quaid, James Franco, Zoe Kravitz, Carrie Coon
Credits:Directed by Jonathan Baker, Josh Baker, script by Daniel Casey. A Lionsgate release.
Running time: 1:42