Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Breaking In

Directed by James McTeigue.
2018. Rated PG-13, 88 minutes.
Gabrielle Union
Billy Burke
Ajiona Alexus
Richard Cabral
Levi Meaden
Seth Carr
Mark Furze
Jason George
Christa Miller

After her estranged, but very rich dad dies, Shaun (Union) takes her two kids, daughter Jasmine (Alexus) and younger brother Glover (Carr), up to dad’s secluded mansion to get everything in order so she can sell it. Once there, they discover a state of the art security system that makes the place an impenetrable fortress. Part of getting things in order means Shaun has to be on the phone for long stretches. To have a bit of privacy, she takes a glass of wine with her just outside the house while she chats up lawyers, real estate agents, etc. Unbeknownst to her, dad may or may not have been involved in some shady dealings and allegedly has a safe full of cash somewhere within the dwelling. As you might imagine, this means some really bad guys sneak into the house with the kids and arm that Purge-worthy security system, leaving Mom on the outside looking in. They busy themselves tearing the place apart to find said safe while also trying to keep tabs on Mom’s activities. Not surprisingly, Mom trying to find a way inside to rescue her kids ensues.

Sometimes, you read the synopsis to a movie and you realize it’s going to take a certain level of suspension of disbelief to work. You expect some shenanigans. The problem comes when the movie far exceeds that level with no explanation. Then you just roll your eyes and/or laugh in inappropriate places. Think about a Batman movie, for instance. Going in, you know the things the character is capable of, all the gadgets he might produce, and you roll with it. After all, we’re talking about a guy dressing up as a bat and hanging out on rooftops, hoping to spot a crime. However, if he suddenly shoots lasers from his eyeballs somebody’s got some ‘splainin' to do because things just went too far. No, Gabrielle Union doesn’t shoot lasers from her eyeballs, but a number of times, the movie just goes too far. Or just ignores simple things like physics and logic despite the fact that we’re clearly not supposed to. These aren’t really spoilers, but some things you should know before sitting down to watch Breaking In:

A six-and-a-half to seven-foot fence either completely disappears or our heroine does indeed develop super-human strength. 

Characters without the ability of flight, nor the possession of a ladder, can get on and off the roof of this multi-story house quickly and quietly.

There’s more, but I think you get my point.

Those things would be somewhat tolerable if the story-telling were better. It’s generic and predictable. No one involved in the writing is in any danger of winning a Pulitzer, at least not for this. Breaking In just lays out all the super-parent tropes and goes right down the checklist. Instead of a new and interesting take on a well-worn genre, we get a microwaved version of better meals. Even some of the simplest things are botched, aside from the things I pointed out above. For example, in an apparent homage to Die Hard there’s this huge visual deal made of the fact Mom is outside barefoot, but we get no payoff. Thank goodness, they do properly set up and use the wine glass, so there’s that.

Breaking In does have a few things going for it, though. For starters, it’s not a dull film. Things are happening. You might always know what’s coming, but it’s still somewhat entertaining watching it play out. Second, there a couple of nice performances. This mainly includes two of the goons, Sam (Meaden) and Cabral (Duncan), who are constantly bickering. The fact that Duncan is completely unhinged helps a ton. Billy Burke is okay as our main baddie, but truthfully, he’s outperformed by his facial hair, just as he was in the Twilight series. Gabrielle Union is also okay, not particularly good or bad, in the lead. However, for the first ten or fifteen minutes the camera just follows her around while she’s busy discovering things around the house, interacting with kids, and most importantly, just chatting on the phone while looking like Gabrielle Union. My goodness, the camera loves that woman. I’d say that’s a win, for me, anyway. For movie-goers and watchers in search of a legitimately good movie, look elsewhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment