Kin, a sci-fi melodrama about a boy who finds an alien high tech gun and goes on a robbery spree with his more irresponsible very older brother, can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be an adult kids movie or a kids movie for adults. There is a lot of weighty family dramatics, gangster posturing, a lot of seediness mixing uneasily with a terminator-predator subplot that is far more violent that Kin’s PG-13 rating belies. There is also some serious WTF moral issues about the irresponsibility of the writing-directing Baker brothers allowing an eleven-year old black child to disintegrate bad guys with laser blasts.
Adding to the confusion is all the serious acting from James Franco as the revenge seeking villain, Zoe Kravitz as a stripper cum bigger sister substitute and Jack Reynor as the older screwup brother that counterpoints oddly with Miles Truitt gee whizz innocence and the sci-fi elements. Kin needs some knowing self humor. It needs to let the younger kin watching know that the nightmare will end and the ending will be happier.
Kin plays like a failed Quentin Tarantino movie redirected by Robert Rodriguez with a bad script rewrite from James Cameron. It is violent when it needs to be soft and inane when it explains.
If Kin had separated its sci-fi elements into an ongoing dream and wish fulfillment fantasy that counterpoints its gritty reality it would play better with both kids and parents. Instead Kin is a kids nightmare that no parent wants to soothe with lullabies.
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