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Next of Kin

Next of Kin

What He said:


Truman Gates (Patrick Swayze) is a big city cop with country roots. He now lives in Chicago, but grew up in a real backwoods area. He’s was born and raised in the part of Kentucky that is in the Appalachian Mountains.  His family is a very simple bunch who live by their own rules. So when Truman’s younger brother is murdered in the city, they decided to seek out their own brand of justice.

You see, Truman convinced his brother Gerald (Bill Paxton) to move to Chicago for work when he loses his job. He tells him there are more opportunities in the city, which is why Truman himself left years ago. His family is not in favor of this and his other Brother Briar (Liam Neeson) often tried to convince Gerald to move back to the country. Briar and the rest of the Gates clan view the city as bad news. So when Gerald is killed, Briar holds Truman accountable for it.

Next of Kin

You know how I mentioned earlier that Truman’s family is kind of “different”? Well when they find out that Gerald has been murdered, they insist on some good old-fashioned backwoods justice.   Briar is chosen to go to the city, find the person or persons responsible for Gerald’s death, and kill them. Truman knows his family has no respect for the law, so he has to race to find the killer before his brother does (and ends up in jail in the process).
Gerald was killed by mobster Joey Rosellini (Adam Baldwin). Joey is the nephew of mob boss John Isabella (Andreas Katsulas). Truman and Briar each embark on their own investigation, sometimes helping one another, sometimes fighting each other.

Next of Kin

I was in the mood for an old school action flick and I had never seen this before, so I decided to check it out when I saw it was available on Amazon. I was digging it for a while. I thought it was entertaining enough. But it got a little goofy after a while. The concept of hicks vs. mobsters in a gang style fight sounds hilariously entertaining. It was for a while too. Liam Neeson was great as the ignorant, but surprisingly resourceful, and very vengeful brother Briar. Swayze was fine as his brother who did all to abandon his country roots too. But the rest of their family – particularly the ones who get involved in the conflict towards the end of the movie – seemed like bad caricatures. There’s just something about them that rubbed me the wrong way. There was a scene where they pack up and leave for the city that was laughably bad. The women were making sandwiches and other food to take on the road for them…as the men load and check their guns. It just didn’t work at all. The same can be said for the mobsters. Adam Baldwin was doing an awful impression of an Italian stereotype. So was Andreas Katsulas. Ben Stiller has a cameo role as his son and he’s just downright hilarious. The three of them were not menacing at all. It’s never good when you can’t take the bad guys seriously.

I thought the movie started out as a decent enough action movie. The concept of two very different cultures clashing in a Hatfield/McCoy style feud is great material for an 80s action movie. But the execution was distractingly bad at times. The supporting cast were such caricatures that I couldn’t take them seriously. They actually ruined the movie for me.

Rating: Thumbs down.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on November 11, 2013.