FIRST LOOK: Reversing Home Invasion Typical Thrills, "Breaking In" Pits Angry Gabrielle Union Against Thugs

Updated 27 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
FIRST LOOK: Reversing Home Invasion Typical Thrills, "Breaking In" Pits Angry Gabrielle Union Against Thugs
Let's go in reverse. Instead of breaking out of captivity , mom Shaun ("Sleepless," "Almost Christmas") Russell busts heads and scrapes nails attempting to enter her late father's  security heightened isolated residence where bad guys are holding her kids. 

You cannot pigeon hole "Breaking In" among typical home invasion variations a.k.a. "Panic Room" or portions of "The Purge" series. 

After Russell's dad is killed by a car, she's designated to probate his estate. She's not fond of returning to the home --- the memories are foul, although director James (V for Vendetta) McTeigue  doesn't let viewers in on her teen years where she had to fend for herself.  The reluctant drive to the suburbs relies on bickering by Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus) and Glover (Seth Carr) for disrupting their weekend plans.

FIRST LOOK: Reversing Home Invasion Typical Thrills, "Breaking In" Pits Angry Gabrielle Union Against Thugs

Shaun's already made known this is about getting a real estate sale and she seems well at ease first shedding shoes as they enter the house that has had a high tech beyond geek security and control system installed. Observing the multi camera live plays and controls for motion, lights, locks, and window barriers, the kids seem fascinated. Neither of the three notice that four invaders are already inside. 

Following a scuffle, the four safe full of bucks seeking cons have the two kids under their control and mom's locked outside. 

The power trip begins as Eddie (Billie Burke) verbally bashes mom and threatens the kids. He's in over his head too; at least one accomplice frets that he didn't sign on to kill kids. 

"Breaking In" stands strong but wobbly elsewhere when Russell's got her anger up about rescuing her kids. Burke's a weenie , speaking tough and daunting the strength of a mere woman. The more he verbally chastises ("You're a woman alone, do what I say") about his "control," the greater her adrenalin flows. 

She's a cinch for an action heroine (or politically correctly, hero) established in her knowledge and quick thinking during hand to hand combat. It remains unclear where she developed her fighting skills, which go far beyond streetwise exposure.

A countdown until the law arrives (90 minutes) is wasted. Tension does not form around a ticking time frame. Too many scene shifts removes potential for alarms; they have multiple tasks and multiple challenges greater than sands in an hourglass. 

That's the fallacy: Mom, kids, Burke, bad dudes and visitors overcome the impenetrable relatively easily. As daunting the control room appears, the elaborate mechanisms could have been an unexpected intruder interfering with the actions of all. McTeigue missed that one, too, along with a few minutes to well establish personality quirks, which would have provided better foundation  and less just going with the flow. 

Incidentally, there's a P.C. stereotype reversal too. Will you catch it?

 

 

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