August 6, 2018  (Web Review)

Breaking In

Universal, 88 min., PG-13, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.98, Aug. 7

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

James McTeigue’s thriller inverts the usual home invasion scenario: Shaun (Gabrielle Union) must break into the remote Wisconsin vacation mansion of her estranged father in order to rescue her son and daughter (Seth Karr, Ajiona Alexus), who were taken prisoner by four thugs looking for a cache of money that her crooked businessman dad reportedly hid before he was murdered. The house is equipped with the most advanced security measures, which Shaun overcomes by turning the tables on the villains, retaking the place by luring them outside. While the tinkering with formula is clever, what ultimately keeps the plot running is the fact that the quartet of bad guys—a blonde pretty boy (Levi Meaden), a sadistic thug (Richard Cabral), a nondescript hustler (Mark Furze), and their steely-eyed leader Eddie (Billy Burke)—are a blundering, incompetent bunch. Despite Eddie’s repeated acknowledgement that Shaun is a formidable opponent, it is really their ineptitude that allows her to outwit them (and the movie to repetitively grind on). Particularly head-scratching is their penchant for dropping a search for the safe where the money is stored in order to squabble among themselves, even though they know that security forces will be arriving in 90 minutes. Breaking In is a cat-and-mouse thriller (in which the cats seem about as adept as Sylvester chasing Tweety or Tom stalking Jerry) built around a thin premise that is stretched out with implausible twists. Not a necessary purchase. [Note: DVD/Blu-ray extras include both the theatrical version and an unrated director’s cut, audio commentary by director James McTeigue and screenwriter Ryan Engle, deleted and extended scenes (15 min.), production featurettes on “A Filmmaker’s Eye” (5 min.), “One Bad Mother…” (4 min.), “A Lesson in Kicking Ass” (4 min.), and “A Hero Evolved” (3 min.), and an alternate opening (2 min.). Exclusive to the Blu-ray release are bonus DVD and digital copies of the film. Bottom line: a solid extras package for a disappointing thriller.] (F. Swietek)