12 May 2018 | dave-mcclain
a fairly predictable, but above-average thriller
"Breaking In" (PG-13, 1:28) is a thriller directed by James McTeigue ("Survivor", "Ninja Assassin", "V for Vendetta") and written by Ryan Engle ("Rampage", "The Commuter", "Non-Stop"). It stars Gabrielle Union as a mother who risks life and limb to protect her children under extraordinary circumstances.
Shaun Russell (Union) is a married mother of two kids, a teenager named Jasmine (Ajiona Russell), and a younger son named Glover (Seth Carr). Shortly after the mysterious death of her wealthy estranged father, Shaun has to drive to his estate (which is where she grew up) to prepare it for sale. Her husband (Jason George) can't get away for the weekend, so it's just Shaun and the kids on a road trip to the country. The only other person Shaun plans on seeing that weekend is her realtor (Christa Miller), who's bringing Shaun paperwork for her to sign. But the weekend ends up including some... uninvited guests.
So, this little family settles in, Jasmine retreating to a bedroom to listen to her music and spend quality time on her phone, Glover to play around with the home's sophisticated electronic controls and then fly his little camera drone around the house, and Shaun calling in town to order some pizza. But before she can finish that call, some bad men suddenly appear in the house, grab the kids and try to grab her.
Four ex-cons, an ex-military guy (Mark Furze), a less-than-dependable wannabe thug (Levi Meaden), a psycho gang-banger (Richard Cabral) and their controlled but ruthless leader (Billy Burke), didn't think anyone was going to be at the house, but they still want what they came for - to find a safe that supposedly contains millions of dollars. Shaun finds herself locked out of the house, while the bad guys are inside threatening her children. She needs every ounce of strength, smarts and resourcefulness to make sure her kids (and she herself) survive the night. As the movie poster says, "Revenge is a Mother".
"Breaking In" is a fairly predictable, but above-average thriller. The film's advertising pretty much tells us what to expect, but Burke makes a pretty mean villain and Union makes for one tough mother. The action starts refreshingly early and really never lets up. The movie is intricately plotted, with plenty of twists (even if we do see many of them coming). This is a thriller which is actually thrilling - and entertaining. "B+"