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Next of Kin

Theatrical poster for Next of Kin
Directed by John Irvin
Produced by Larry Dewaay (Executive Producer)
Jeb Stuart (Associate Producer
Richard D. Zanuck
Written by Michael Jenning
Starring Patrick Swayze
Liam Neeson
Adam Baldwin
Helen Hunt
Andreas Katsulas
Bill Paxton
Ben Stiller
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Larry Gatlin (song) "Brothers"
Cinematography Steven B. Poster
Editing by Peter Honess
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) United States October 20, 1989
Running time 111 min
Country  United States
Language English

Next of Kin is a 1989 action film directed by John Irvin and starring Patrick Swayze and Liam Neeson. The screenplay was based on a story of the same title, both written by Michael Jenning.



Truman Gates (Patrick Swayze), a Kentucky native raised in Appalachia, has migrated to Chicago to become a police officer. After his younger brother Gerald (Bill Paxton) becomes unemployed when the local coal mine closes, Truman persuades his brother to look for work in Chicago.

Soon after landing a job as a truck driver, Gerald's vehicle is hijacked by mobsters from the Chicago Outfit. When Gerald pulls a knife, he is immediately gunned down by Joey Rosellini (Adam Baldwin), the sadistic nephew of Outfit boss John Isabella (Andreas Katsulas). When the Don later confronts his nephew about this needless killing, Joey lies and says that it was in defense of his cousin's life.

When Gerald's body is discovered, Truman returns to Kentucky for the funeral. When his surviving brother, Briar Gates (Liam Neeson), insists on a traditional mountain blood feud, Truman urges his family to let the police deal with Gerald's murder. Briar is disgusted, as he considers Truman's reluctance to be disgraceful.

Determined to deal with the murderers in his own way, Briar travels to Chicago. Meanwhile, Truman desperately tries to solve the crime before Briar. He approaches John Isabella and explains the mountain code to him. He suggests that if Gerald's murderer surrenders peacefully, it would save them both a lot of trouble. John, however, refuses on general principle and Truman continues his investigation. He soon learns the identity of the hijackers from a witness. To his amazement, Truman learns that Lawrence Isabella (Ben Stiller), the Don's son and a criminal informant, witnessed the murder. He approaches Lawrence and tells him that he intends to arrest Joey.

Soon afterwards, Lawrence is brutally tortured and finally murdered with Briar's shotgun. A devastated John sanctions a hit on the supposed culprit. However, Briar first breaks into Rosellini's trucking company and engages in a gunfight with Joey's crew. Fatally wounded, Briar dies in Truman's arms.

With two brothers dead and evidence for an arrest lacking, Truman resigns from the police force. He destroys Joey's car and paints, "You forgot one," on the wreckage. Enraged, Joey vows to murder Truman without his uncle's permission. Meanwhile in Kentucky, the Gates family gathers together and travels to Chicago to begin a war against the Outfit.

Learning of the Gates family's determination to seek revenge, Joey dismisses the threat, saying that the Gates family, "plow rocks for a living." John responds, "That's what they said about 'our' people back in Sicily."

Truman lures the Rosellini crew to a darkened cemetery, where an extended gun battle ensues. Truman ambushes and silently kills the members of Joey's crew with a compound bow. Then, just as Truman is cornered by the remaining four, the Gates family descends to his rescue. Once the remaining mobsters are killed or cornered, Truman and Joey engage in hand-to-hand combat. Truman has Joey pinned on the ground with a knife to his throat when John Isabella arrives and, at gunpoint, orders Truman to drop the knife and move out of the way. To Joey's horror, the Don has learned the truth about Lawrence's murder. The Don tells Joey, "This is for killing my son," and shoots him dead.

With Gerald's murderer finally dealt with, the Gates and Isabella families make peace.

Main cast


Patrick Swayze was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actor for his work in Next of Kin and for Road House released the same year.

External links



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