The story centers around Truman Gates (Patrick Swayze), a Chicago police officer from Kentucky. When his brother Gerald (Bill Paxton) is killed by the Chicago mafia, his brother Briar (Liam Neeson) comes to town seeking revenge. Meanwhile, Adam Baldwin plays Joey Rosselini, an enforcer for the Isabella crime family who finds his position in jeopardy due to the don's son (Ben Stiller) trying to play a more active role in the family business.
Next of Kin provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Isabella and his son Lawrence are some of the nicest mobsters you'll ever meet.
- And This Is for...: "killing my son" BLAM!
- Badass Family: The Gates family.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: In the end Truman doesn't get to kill Joey, as Johnny Isabella does the deed in retaliation for the latter killing his son.
- Bar Brawl: Truman fights his brother Briar in a bar when he decides to take him in. The bartender tries to call the cops, but the one of the customers stop him and other remarks how the fight is "better than television".
- Bear Trap: One of Joey's buddies is caught in one in the climactic showdown.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Lets just say, Joey isn't too happy about taking orders from his boss' son, and decides to do something about it.
- Foil: Fair Cop Truman, who wants to bring his brother's killer to justice, to moody, vindictive Briar.
- The Fundamentalist: Truman's next of kin, especially Briar
- The Heavy: Joey, since he's only The Dragon to Don Isabella, but he gets crap done.
- Improbable Weapon User: The bus of snakes used by one of Truman's brothers.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Despite being armed with machine guns and in an open graveyard, the mob goons pretty much fail to hit crap.
- Not So Different: During an exchange between Joey and Don Isabella, Joey refers to the Gates as stupid poor farmers. Don Isabella responds that that's how other Italians thought about Sicilians.Joey: Papa John, they're nothin', they plow rocks for a living.Don Isabella: Interesting. The same thing was said about our own people, in Sicily.
- Old Shame: In-Universe, Truman and his heritage, though it does nothing to stop him from going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after Gerald and Briar are killed and his wife is threatened.
- Psycho for Hire: Possibly Joey, as he sure seems to like killing people even his bosses' son, who the police claim was also tortured before he died.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Briar to Blue Truman
- Train Escape: Briar resorts to this when Joey and his buddies are chasing him.