Monday, August 20, 2018

Breaking In Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release, Breaking In is now available on Blu-ray and digital copy. Gabrielle Union stars in the action-packed thriller, as a mom who will stop at nothing to break into her late father’s home when her children are locked inside with a gang of intruders. The Blu-ray includes an unrated director’s cut and was shot with handheld cameras intended to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. See what happens when one unassuming mother is separated from her children. Even the hardened criminals can’t imagine the lengths a mom will go to when the stand between a mom and her kids.
Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 
Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) is taking her daughter and son to her father’s home. Her dad unexpectedly passed away and Shaun plans to sell the house quickly. Her son quickly discovers that the house is state of the art with all the latest security features. It can be controlled with one device and Shaun seems surprised that her father’s home had such attributes. 

When four men break into the home in search of a hidden safe Shaun manages to escape. She is outside the fortress but both her children are trapped inside. These men are armed, they are dangerous. They have no idea what they are up against. This mom will stop at nothing to save her children. 

Breaking In is directed by V for Vendetta’s James McTeigue and co-stars Billy Burke (Twilight series). The screenplay was written by Ryan Engle (Rampage, The Commuter, Non-Stop). I don’t know if Gabrielle Union has children in real life but she certainly knows how to channel the “mama bear” rage. She is absolutely believable as a woman who is willing to die for her children and take anyone around with her. When she threatens the intruders, it’s believable. She fights with more than one of them, with a particularly unrehearsed style. It doesn’t feel like scripted stunt fighting. It really looks like they are throwing her around and like that girl can and does take a good hit. She must have had some serious bruises to show for this film. 

Billy Burke is a great bad guy and the other members of his crew are very well cast. You’ve got the bad guy that’s really good at heart and then the bad guy that’s truly bad. In the end, you can bet Shaun is willing to take them all out to save her babies. The kids are also very well cast. They are tough, they can be scared without being whiny. As a viewer you care that everyone makes it out. You’re rooting for the family. I have seen other hostage dramas where, even with the kids, they end up getting so whiny that you’re hoping someone just ends it all (good or bad). 

The criticism here is that the film is exactly what you expected. I can see another review saying there are no surprises. Yeah, the film Breaking In, is about a lady breaking in to save her kids and spoiler alert…she’s gonna save them. Also, in an amazing display of girl power, she’s gonna kick everyone’s butt doing it regardless of whether or not they have the weapons so I don’t care how realistic it is. I am a mom and I think I could do the same thing. So what if I can’t successfully kill a spider on my own. Intruders beware! 
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars) 
Breaking In is one of the higher quality Blu-ray transfers I have seen lately. Much of this film takes place in dark rooms or in the woods outside the house at night and the viewer never struggles to decipher fine details. Images are crisp and clear. The green grass around the home and rich wood grains, stones and textures show off the warm and earthy range of the color palette. Shadows are very important and Shaun hides plays hide and seek with the intruders and black levels are consistently excellent. 
Audio (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 
Breaking In's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is adequate. I wasn’t wowed by the audio but certainly never felt let down by it either. Music blares intentionally at times and the rest of the film is dialogue based. Shaun’s bare footsteps fall and thud with accuracy. The gun shots ring true and punches land with appropriate weight. Audio is center positioned. A significant section of dialogue is whispered between Shaun and her daughter and that gives no issues at all for the listener. A solid audio presentation. 
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
The Breaking In Blu-ray contains the following bonus features: 
  • Version – Choose between Theatrical or Unrated Director’s Cut 
  • Alternate Opening – The Gas Station (2:08) With available Commentary by Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle 
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes (14:28 Total Runtime) - available with play all function or individually and with Commentary by Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle 
    • Extended Drone Sequence 
    • “Where’s the Safe, Sweetheart?” 
    • Running for Your Life 
    • Eddie and Justin Fight 
  • One Bad Mother (4:19) – Gabrielle Union as the choice to be the one woman versus the four men. Includes cast and crew interviews. 
  • A Filmmaker’s Eye: James McTeigue (5:07) – A look at the Director with an eye for action and building suspense. Included information about shooting, location, challenges and director preparation 
  • A Lesson in Kicking Ass (4:20) – Details of the physicality including the intended scrappy looking fighting style and how they put Gabrielle Union on top of a roof. 
  • A Hero Evolved (2:55) – Girl Power and diversity are discussed as Gabrielle Union explains the lack of both in on screen role models she grew up with. 
  • Feature Commentary with Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle – An interesting commentary on par with the rest of the bonus content. 
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 
Breaking In is a relatively simple concept. It takes place in one main set and has very few actors. Just like with the recent release, A Quiet Place, it proves that you can generate a lot of tension without a large cast or multiple locations. Gabrielle Union made the film work. She was the perfect mama bear. This was a film I skipped in the theater because I thought the preview showed everything that happened. It pretty much did, but I still enjoyed going along for the ride. Recommended.

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