No force is stronger than family.
Science Fiction is always fun in my book - those visions of the future or things to come just intrigues the mind in ways more plausible then the average magic and drama. The genre hasn’t usually done all that great in the box office outside of the huge mainstays like Star Wars or Star Trek, but regardless I’ve always enjoyed it. Cue one day when watching a trailer compilation to keep up on what’s getting released down the line and I stumble across this movie of a kid finding a alien gun, and I’m already all in and adding it to the list of things to watch. Could be terrible, could be great, but it’s got some shiny visuals based on the trailer, and sometimes that’s really all it takes to draw you in. Let’s see how strong the familial bond is with this one, today we look at Kin.
The plot here is more elaborate than it would seem, and yet somehow still surprisingly simple. A kid finds an alien box while searching for scrap copper in closed off places, and stuff happens. The funny part is that the gun is actually the least of the plot - sure, it comes into play, and it’s this ending wrapper of a plot piece that could be argued is intended to set up a sequel, but largely the story belongs to the other son in the picture - the troublemaker, the thief, the bad seed. His is the story of classic criminals, where things get out of hand and lives get on the line. In that sense, it feels slightly different than the normal, as it becomes more almost like a crime oriented drama with all the emotional motivations going on across the movie than a normal happy-go-lucky kid finding alien tech movie. Pacing is pretty fine, it’s not too breakneck and it isn’t constantly slow, but given that there’s some emphasis more on the characters and their interactions than necessarily gun fights and fisticuffs, the pace might feel a little sauntering to the action-desiring crowd. Still, it largely doesn’t feel like it’s including too much that’s just useless fluff to pad run time, and a lot of scenes come off as being there for a specific reason of building characters or setting up scenes later.
The characters are also probably the centerpiece of the movie. They might not be these huge twelve page backstory style of characters, but they all are done well enough that the movie can carry with it some form of emotional weight. Loss is mirrored on both the hero and villain side of the story, which provides not only motivation but a nice blend of differing attitudes towards how things transpire. The bulk of the story is also underpinned by this sort of emotional dread, as while the movie does a good job of getting you to like the characters and build them up, you the viewer also know that at some point the truth will come to a head and it could be pretty ugly when it does, despite the name giving you the impression that it will probably all work out in the end. Of all the characters, the villain is probably the most single-tracked, even though his reasoning for his actions is fine. The dancer sidekick also doesn’t go too far - she has her own little story in there, dropped via exposition, and really just adds a bit more of that family unit feeling to the hero group we proceed closer to the end. The mysterious outsiders, well they look far too humanoid to be aliens in the generic sense of little green men or menacing bug-like creatures, but the sci-fi tech outfits and weaponry they have at the very least make them seem futuristic and advanced to make up for the lack of real alien qualities.
Part of what probably makes the characters work so well is the acting. Actors do a great job here, and although there might be a little fumble here or there at times it’s largely all pretty believable and serviceable. By the end of the story, you do get the feeling that the older brother is feeling the weight of his actions and it’s having an impact on him. Part of that is the way the actor portrays the character - body language and eyes, line delivery - but also just those extra little scenes being thrown in to emphasize the fact that it’s troubling him. Likewise, you get the sense that the younger brother has taken to heart what his father tried to teach him, generally stating when he’s not totally onboard with actions being taken or even just showing through body language his sense of unease or trepidation. The main villain does a fine job portraying someone whose a little unhinged, and not very caring of the morality in the actions he’s taking. There’s also some decent acting out of the side characters, such as a cop whose in the movie for a very limited amount of time towards the end.
The scenery isn’t exactly too much to look at. It’s a lot of modern places, although we do get some nice run-down large buildings, lived in houses, and retro-neon lit strip club. I guess what I’m getting at is that it isn’t exactly super boring to look at, but you won’t find anything really hooking your imagination given it’s all modern times. The settings are dressed to tell their story, but don’t excel at much beyond that. Audio does it’s job while it’s playing, largely helping to emphasize the mood you should be in or the mood the characters are in at the time. No real ear-worms for me in this flick. The rest of the audio is balanced well, and they put some work into the effects as far as audio goes - down to giving the space gun different sounds as it powers up different shot types. There’s plenty enough detail in there that things are audibly interesting, and the unknown entities have a bit of an audio distortion to their speaking that make it sound like it’s coming from inside a helmet as well.
The other effects are mixed - and not in the good or bad sort of way I normally refer to when I say mixed in this section. We’ve got some good practical stuff, and we’ve got some good computer stuff in here. From the gun itself, which is largely practical looking with plenty of computer components as well (such as a true “holographic” sight), to explosions and energy blasts. It all looks pretty good here, with some of the highlights on the computer end being a scene where the unknowns are recreating a scene forensics-style and it pops up a hologram similar to what I recall seeing in the game The Division, just with a more logical reason as to how the images were being projected. On the practical spectrum, the costumes for the unknowns look pretty darn cool, and I could see them cracking some heads in combat by the look of them. Even with all of that, it’s nice that it seems like a lot of unreal elements are backed up with some sort of real component in a way or form, giving both something really interesting too look at but also probably making it far easier for the actors to imagine what they are dealing with.
The runtime feels like it’s right where it needs to be - coming in under two hours. The moral center that you expect from a movie like this is there - complete with that “with great power comes great responsibility” style PSA moment where the character actually says it out loud. You could argue that perhaps some of the actions characters take are a little questionable at times, but it isn’t such that it should take you out of the movie entirely - it’s not like people are running upstairs to the attic to get away from the killer in their house or something. Some of the things that are potentially supposed to be twists are pretty easy to pick out, but the thing never really feels like it’s marketing itself as a true mystery anyways, so it doesn’t end up feeling like a big deal. Largely, it also feels like the unknowns are pretty well underused in the movie - which isn’t a bad thing for the development of the other characters, but might throw people who thought they’d be getting a bunch of aliens flying about. If there was to be a largest complaint, perhaps that would be it - the movie largely plays out like a normal day movie with a few sprinklings of not-normal things, like the space gun or the every-so-often unknown hunters. If you watched the trailer and got the impression that it would be a larger deal, I’d say that it would be fair enough to be dissapointed that it isn’t what was delivered.
Although not entirely what I thought it was going to be, Kin was pretty good. I was expecting perhaps a bit more sci-fi, but what I did get wasn’t bad at all. The acting was good, the characters ended up feeling more fleshed out than I would have expected, and there was a lot of reasoning to the actions characters take. Effects work was well done on multiple fronts, and the movie takes it’s time to create an emotional or happy mood without over-spending it and dragging out the entire experience longer than necessary. There’s plenty of darkly lit scenes, but also plenty of well lit ones as well. It’s worth a watch if your looking for something to just enjoy for a few hours, and the trailer isn’t too terrible a stepping point to figure out if you’d enjoy the movie.