Film Review: Breaking In

The #MeToo movement is surely proving itself, showing quite the impact it has made and continues to make in Hollywood in 2018 so far. Thanks to a much-needed rise of female directors making feature films, as well as female-centric storylines including kick-ass heroines and action stars, Breaking In is contributing to an increasing canon and genre of films where girls can have as much fun as boys beating up the bad guys. Don’t get me wrong, audiences luckily have had some of the best female action heroes thanks to actresses like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, Chloë Grace Moretz in the Kick Ass action film series and of course, Marvel’s own female protagonists with the likes of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, to the upcoming and anticipated Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. With Breaking In, Gabrielle Union joins a long list of strong women who never take no for an answer and fight back, even when the going gets tough. 

Aside from being added to a list of female action stars, Union joins the prestigious ranks of Taraji P. Henson, Pam Grier and other prolific African-American women who have placed their names in the history books of women who fight back. Yet, with Breaking In, one of the more interesting factors of Union’s hero is the fact that she is also a mother! While the film is programmed specifically for the Mother’s Day weekend in North America, Union’s character Shuan Russell, demands much attention, for the simple fact that, unlike many of the other names mentioned previously, Union’s Shuan is no hit-woman, super hero or spy. Instead, Breaking In is a film that showcases the great lengths a mother will go to protect her family in the face of danger and violence.

What seems as a clichéd take on the home invasion action genre, quickly becomes a very meticulous and thought-out showcase on a very raw concept. Breaking In shows its strengths by being as embedded into reality as possible; an action film that really doesn’t over glamorize the conflict; never exploits the spectacle to Michael Bay heights, instead Breaking In shows the very talented ability to exercise its restraint in being a very realistic actioner.

While Breaking In is not a perfect film by any means, suffering from various guilty continuity errors, as well as not really developing any of the antagonists and their motives and methods as well as criminal backgrounds, it does a very good job of allowing Union’s Russell to use her common skills and knowledge in defeating a very menacing and threatening group of evil men.

Billy Burke, a face many would recognize in the Twilight trilogy as Bella’s loving father, plays the mastermind behind the robbery, Eddie. Elaborate and cunning, Eddie’s plan unfortunately doesn’t go as planned once Shuan and her children decide to spend the weekend at her father’s house after his death. Joining the sinister Eddie are Sam (Levi Meaden), Duncan (Richard Cabral), and Peter (Mark Furze), three criminals who agree to rob the old man’s home in search of a hidden fortune.

While Shuan travels to the home with her two unwitting children Jasmine (Aijona Alexus) and Glover (Seth Carr), the children quickly get held hostage by Eddie and his gang, forcing Shuan to take desperate measures and actions that push the boundaries of fear to desperation, and challenge Eddie’s very strategic plan.

Breaking In is a popcorn film in its entirety. With a brisk runtime, to very fundamental action set pieces to two-dimensional character development, along with some very surprising twists in the narrative, the film doesn’t offer too much new and fresh material to the genre, yet engages its audience with hurdles of thrills and suspense. Union shows her star-power as a desperate mother who is willing to give up everything and anything to ensure the safety of the people she loves the most.

Breaking In may not be breaking any records or limitations, but does a masterful job of showcasing Union and her very physical action role with poise and elegance, truly allowing the audience to believe that when a mother has her back against the wall when it comes to her children, she is capable of anything; and in 2018, I really don’t think that there is a more relevant message to tell young woman and mothers all over the world right now than that. Breaking In really keeps its promise and pushes the film’s tagline that revenge really is a mother…

Night Film Reviews: 6 Out of 10 Stars.

What did you think of Breaking In? Typical action film or concurrent genre piece? Is Gabrielle Union up there with some of the greats? How were the performances? Will you be catching this on Mother’s Day with mom? Leave your thoughts and break the comments section below! 

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