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Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio,
A Terrific,Underrated And Entertaining Action-Thriller
Next Of Kin is a terrific,underrated and entertaining Action-Thriller that is filled with fine direction,a great cast,wonderful Action,an impressive script and a good score and soundtrack. All of those elements make Next Of Kin a solid film worth your time.
Set in Chicago,Illinois,Next Of Kin tells the story of Truman Gates(Patrick Swayze),a Chicago cop from the hills of Kentucky who is investigating the death of his little brother Gerald Gates(Bill Paxton)who was killed by gangsters. Meanwhile,Truman's older brother Briar Gates(Liam Neeson)has come to Chicago to do his own investigation and the gangsters find out you mess with their family you mess with them.
Released in 1989,Next Of Kin is a wonderful and very underrated Action-Thriller that wasn't a hit at the Box Office and was panned by critics but in later years the film seems to have found an audience on cable and home video. And while the film doesn't reinvent the wheel and isn't very groundbreaking or revolutionary,Next Of Kin is a movie that gives viewers great entertainment for 108 minutes. From beginning to end Next Of Kin is a movie that gives viewers a good balance and mixture of Action,thrills and drama with grit and style that never changes throughout the movie and is happening on the mean streets of Chicago with intensity and violence all around. The tone and atmosphere of Next Of Kin can at times be bleak and downbeat but you are never depressed while watching the film because while the tone of the movie is serious the film at times has some humorous moments that are funny and give Next Of Kin a light tone. The storyline moves at a fast pace and keeps you glued to the screen and will keep you wondering what will happen next in most of the scenes. What separates Next Of Kin some of the Action movies of the late 1980s and early 90s is the the depth and themes discussed in the film. The main theme that is repeated throughout the film the theme of family and blood we see families from both sides whether it's with Truman and his relationships with his brothers and family or with Gangster John Isabella(Andreas Katsulas)and his family and no matter what conflicts or problems you still have blood,loyalty and family will always be with you. The characters Truman and Briar Gates we see that the two brothers are estranged because of Truman leaving for Chicago which Briar saw as betrayal but when their brother is killed we see Truman and Briar try to repair their relationship while trying to find out who killed their brother and it's pretty obvious that even though they don't say the two truly love each other and care for one another and the dialog between the two feels real and truly adds to the film. In NOK there is a contrast between the people in the big city in Chicago and the hills of Kentucky showing the Gates family living in houses in the woods and hills that are in the dirt which is opposite of the Isabella family who wear expensive suits and live large houses in the big city of Chicago. One of most interesting things about Next Of Kin is the cast in the film which includes actors who were either already famous or would become famous later on such as Patrick Swayze,Liam Neeson,Helen Hunt,Bill Paxton,Ben Stiller,Adam Baldwin and Ted Levine with all of them giving fine performances. The screenplay by Michael Jenning is impressive and well-written with Jenning's script giving most of the characters power,depth,emotion and Humor that makes the movie works so well. The Action scenes in Next Of Kin are wonderful as well as simple but effective and are in tune with the kind of Action scenes that were done in other Action flicks of the 1980s and early 90s. The ending of Next Of Kin is great because the ending has Action,excitement and once again deals with family and loyalty as well as gunfights and some hunting. A terrific conclusion.
The cast is outstanding. Patrick Swayze is excellent and at his best as Truman Gates,a Chicago cop. Liam Nesson is brilliant and memorable as Briar Gates,Truman's older brother and has great scenes with Swayze. Adam Baldwin is terrific as Joey Rosselini,a hot headed Gangster. Helen Hunt does a fine job as Jesse Gates,Truman's wife. Andres Katsulas is outstanding as John Isabella,a Chicago Mob Boss. Bill Paxton is wonderful as Gerald Gates,Truman and Briar's younger brother. Ben Stiller is great as Lawrence Isabella,John's son. Michael J.Pollard is amusing and fun as Harold,a Motel owner. Ted Levine(Willy Simpson),Del Close(Frank),Valentino Gimo(Rhino),Paul Greco(Leo),Vincent Guastaferro(Paulie),Paul Herman(Detective Tony Antonelli)and Don James(David Jenkins)give good performances as well.
The direction by John Irvin is great,with Irvin always moving the camera and giving the movie a wonderful visual style. Fine direction,Irvin.
The score by Jack Nitzche is fantastic,intense and memorable and fits the tone of the movie. Terrific score,Nitzche. There is also a few cool songs on the soundtrack by Gregg Allman And Lorrie Gates(Brother To Brother),Larry Gatlin & Patrick Swayze(Brothers),Rodney Crowell(Hey Backwoods),B.B King(My Sweet Understanding Lady),The Charlie Daniels Band(My Sweet Babies Gone)and more. A memorable soundtrack.
In final word,if you love Action-Thrillers,I highly suggest you see,Next Of Kin,a terrific,underrated and entertaining Action-Thriller that is worth your time. Highly Recommended. 9.5/10.
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