Breaking In

Gabrielle Union has a very particular set of skills
5/10 - Gabrielle Union's decent performance can't save this formulaic home-invasion movie
Release Date: 
Friday, May 11, 2018
Written by: 

Breaking In follows a woman who will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with impenetrable security.


If you like the idea of a cross between Taken and Panic Room, then Breaking In may just be your kind of film.

Directed by James McTeigue, the film follows protagonist Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union), who, after the sudden death of her wealthy father, heads to his mansion in order to meet with a real estate agent so she can sell the property.

As her husband Justin (Jason George) is busy at work, she brings along her two children, Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus) and Glover (Seth Carr), and the trio quickly set about exploring the fortress-like home, which is complete with automatic locks and a complicated security system.

But their arrival couldn't have come at a worse time; as soon as they get familiar with the home, they are discovered by four convicts who've broken in and are intent on finding a safe which they believe contains millions of dollars.

Having cut the electricity, the baddies, as led by Eddie (Billy Burke), only have 90 minutes to locate the safe and get the money before the police are called, and accordingly, do not hesitate in taking the children hostage and locking them in a room.

However, ex-Army officer Peter (Mike Furze) meets his match in Shaun and a chase leads to a dramatic outdoors fight scene in which she displays Liam Neeson-level combat skills. Though she manages to hold back her opponent, Shaun is now stuck outdoors, and the plot largely becomes focused on her using her ability to break back inside while fending off inexperienced criminal Sam (Levi Meaden) and his sinister buddy Duncan (Richard Cabral).

There's not a whole lot more to the storyline, written by The Commuter scribe Ryan Engle, and it follows a pretty standard action-thriller formula. The writer dismisses an opportunity to really explore the idea of Shaun being "locked outside" and away from her children, and instead, most of the excitement comes from Shaun's MacGyver-style antics to fight off the bandits, including the use of everyday objects such as a wine glass and a piece of rope.

In addition, the film suffers from some poor editing, and at times baffling sequences, with the convicts forgoing their tight time frames to focus on fighting Shaun, as well as the lead character appearing inside the home at one time, and on the roof, the next.

All of the bad guys are reduced to lame stereotypes in the end, but what somewhat saves this viewing experience is the competent performances given by kids Alexus and Carr, as well as the utter conviction displayed by Union as she confronts each and every obstacle in her way.

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