In his new feature film Breaking In, director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin) offers a predictable, yet hugely watchable home-invasion thriller, which is likely to owe most of its box-office success to the brilliance of its female lead. Staring Gabrielle Union as a determined and mightily pissed-off mother of two, the film tells the story of a family caught up in a robbery gone wrong, resulting in a showdown between a gang of murderous criminals and a mother who will stop at nothing to protect her family.
Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) is still reeling from the violent death of her rich estranged father, a man she had disowned many years prior to his untimely death due to his less than orthodox dealings with the law. Arriving at the family home accompanied by her teenage daughter Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus) and young son Glover (Seth Carr), Shaun soon discovers that her father had made his home into a veritable fortress with gadgets and security systems which could withstand any attempted burglary. However, when the house is invaded by a group of criminals led by former jail-bird Eddie (Billy Burke), Shaun finds herself locked out of her childhood home with her children inside it, and at the mercy of gang of ruthless criminals who will not hesitate to kill her and them.
McTeigue present a trope heavy, action-filled thriller which seems way less concerned with providing a seamless plot, than it is with padding a fairly ordinary screenplay with a series of twists and turns which anyone with half a brain could have seen coming a mile off. For her part, Gabrielle Union does a fantastic job in a role which was more than likely written with her in mind; she puts in a strong and fairly believable turn as a determined and head-strong mother who will do anything to keep her family safe.
Perhaps one of the most note-worthy aspect of the film is in its ability to present an ordinary African-American family without ever drawing attention to race or colour, something which hasn’t always been the case in most mainstream Hollywood productions. Add to that the inspired casting of Union who is pitted against Burke’s Eddie and you’ll have a rather interesting, if not wholly original, battle of wits between the two protagonists.
Whilst adding very little to the already well-served home invasion genre, Breaking In is still able to provide some entertainment value, and if you’re not too bothered by its predictable plot, you’re more likely to find yourself invested in the film’s narrative despite its shortcomings in the originality stakes.
Breaking In is in cinemas from Friday 11th of May.