Review by Bradley Smith
Gabrielle Union stars in Breaking In, the latest home invasion thriller. It is not original by any stretch and fairly predictable, but it boasts an impressive cast, a thrilling plot with some generic twists, and some beautiful scenery. Mother’s Day weekend was a good choice to release this film about a strong mother doing anything to protect her children.
Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) and her two children, Jasmine and Glover, are expecting a quiet, somber weekend at her late estranged father’s mansion/fortress while they prep it for sale. Unfortunately, as the night falls, they learn that they are not alone. Thieves invade looking for something specific and the presence of the Russell family has interrupted their plans, turning the night into a hostage situation with Shaun locked out of the house trying to save her kids.
The quartet of baddies are a scary bunch. Their not criminal masterminds, but also are they not inept or inexperienced. They’ve already been to jail and don’t plan to go back. Eddie (Billy Burke) is the leader, calm and collected through most of the film. Duncan (Richard Cabral; Lethal Weapon) is more short tempered and a bit crazy or unstable. If he was in charge, there wouldn’t be much of the movie because the Russells would likely be dead early on. Sam (Levi Meaden; whose appearance reminded me a lot of Dade from Hackers) is the more inexperienced, even likeable, member of the group. He’s one to watch for any sign of a conscience in the group.
I could nitpick a bit at a few plot holes or continuity errors likely overlooked or ignored for the sake of the thrills. For example, the motion sensors selectively sensing motion while one of the bad guys is trying to track down Shaun. Or when one of the bad guys is apparently shot with his own gun in one scene and then has his gun in the next with no apparent gunshot wound. And far more time is spent among the criminals talking about how little time they have before police arrive than actually looking for their prize. These scenes and one or two others briefly took me out of the movie, but I may have been alone on this.
I got to see it with an audience and they were fully into it, even cheering when one bad guy seemingly met his end. So, overall, it works as a thriller. The actors are great. The house, its security system, and its location are intriguing and visually appealing. I’d mildly recommend it.