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Next Of Kin
a review by Pamela Garza

Patrick Swayze
Liam Neeson
Helen Hunt

Directed by: John Irvin
Length: 108 minutes
Rated: R for violence, language, and innuendo.

Truman Gates (Swayze) is a Chicago cop, whose heritage comes from the Appalachian Mountains. His younger brother, (Bill Paxton) is killed during a mob take-over of a trucking company, and Truman needs to find the proof needed to convict his killer.

He is determined to get things done the Chicago way--the legal way. But his roots and relatives dictate another way--where it's the responsibility of the next of kin to avenge the victim's blood.

Loaded for bear, and with this keen sense of justice, Briar (Truman's older brother played by Neeson) hits town and finds the killer faster than Truman. Different methods pit the brothers against each other, even though they want the same thing.

Meanwhile, the cold-blooded killer (Adam Baldwin) takes severe measures to stop them both, including going after Jessie (Truman's wife played by Helen Hunt.)

Swayze, Neeson, and Hunt make an impressive trio. Their experience at wrenching emotion out of their audience has been wowing us for years, but it's a treat to have them on the same screen.

Donned in a Homburg and leather jacket, Swayze never looked better. The grit and control in playing Truman also wears well on this multi-talented actor. (He also sings one of the songs on the soundtrack.)

As for Neeson, nothing of his Irish seeps through his performance as a 'hillbilly'. His manner, accent, frustrated control, and discomfort in city surroundings, all bespeaks the research he must have done prior to filming this venture.

Though Hunt's part is small, you'd never know it by her magnitude in KIN. You'll find a much wider range of her scope than you did in her Oscar-winning performance.

KIN is bittersweet. It takes another death for the brothers to finally see eye to eye. And the superb acting coupled with the most excellent musical score (Jack Nitzsche) tops it off as enjoyable entertainment.

4 Bags of Popcorn

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