By Jordan Peterson | @thefilmmajor

Looking to gift your mother an exciting and unforgettable time at the movies this Mother’s Day? If so, don’t waste your time or money with Breaking In, an excessively dull home invasion thriller staring Gabrielle Union as a vengeful mother on a mission to save her two kids from four bad news burglars.

Following the passing of her estranged father, Shaun Russell (Union) takes her two kids on a trip to what is essentially a tricked out fortress belonging to her old man located smack dab in the middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin, in order to get the jump on selling the place off. It’s an accessible setup and one can hardly fault the film that. Plenty of thrilling flicks are built on similarly simple foundations. The core problem with Breaking In is that it’s equally uninspired in too many facets of the medium.

Every character is a two-dimensional trope. Shaun’s bratty teenage daughter, Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus), for example, has nothing better to do than complain, listen to music, and text her boyfriend (Ugh). Her still less interesting kid brother, Glover (Seth Carr), mostly just spews nerdy tech knowledge and calls his big sis names. Shaun herself is has no background of any real interest or clarity and her relationship with her children is given practically zero development before crap starts hitting the fan.

And when it inevitably does, the baddies too reveal themselves to be just as wooden with flat characterizations and typical motivations. Eddie (Billy Burke), the cool-headed leader who slowly loses his cool as plans start to unravel, barks orders at his eye-rollingly inept henchmen (while doing nothing himself): the one with a conscience (Levi Meaden), the psychotic one who wants to kill everyone (Richard Cabral), and the one who gets taken out too early to be important (Mark Furze). They want to steal a handsome $4 million lump sum of cash that Shaun’s father supposedly has stashed away somewhere inside the tightly secured mansion.

Breaking In is selling itself as a Taken-esque badass revenge tale with a feminine twist. If only that were actually the case. The film lacks any true sense of stakes. The action set pieces are lifeless and utterly disappointing. And to be honest, it’s kind of sad. Director James McTeigue is the credited director of one of my favorite movies, V for Vendetta, but here, thirteen years out, he and screenwriter Ryan Engle seem bored and uninterested in taking advantage of a talented lead like Gabrielle Union, who seems wholly committed.

Rating: ⭐️ (out of four)

Did you all catch Breaking In this weekend? What did you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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