Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) has been estranged from her father for a many years. He had recently been under investigation by the Feds for embezzlement when he was killed in a suspicious car crash. Shaun is in charge of settling her father’s estate, and so she takes her children—11-year-old Glover (Seth Carr) and teenager Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus)—on a road trip for the weekend, to make sure her father’s home is ready for sale. As they arrive at the secluded property in Lake Constance, Wisconsin, Shaun finds memories of her childhood at the home flooding back. While the property looks very much the same, the estate has one major upgrade—a state-of-the-art security system designed to seal off the home and keep unwanted people out. This includes bulletproof, shuttered windows, cameras in every room, and a surveillance drone, all controlled and monitored from a tablet in a control room in the basement.
Just as the family is starting to settle down for the evening, they discover some unwelcome visitors in the home. Four crooks—mastermind Eddie (Billy Burke), psychopath Duncan (Richard Cabral), inexperienced Sam (Levi Meaden), and tech guy Peter (Mark Furze)—have broken into the house in search of a hidden safe containing the $4M Shaun’s father had stolen. The men may need Shaun’s help in order to locate and open the safe, and so they take the children hostage, and attempt to lock Shaun out of the home. However, these crooks severely underestimate the lengths this mother will go through to protect and save her children. And no security system is going to keep her away from her children!
Breaking In is a thoroughly-entertainingly, edge-of-your-seat thriller. While some films take a long time to establish the premise before jumping into the crux of the thriller, with this movie, within the first 20 minutes the viewer is already thrust into the excitement, and things never slow down. The security system that was designed to protect Shaun and her family is now trapping them inside and provides a major obstacle for Shaun—it not only tries to keep her away from her children, but also provides clear information as to her whereabouts to the enemies looking for her inside. As Shaun tries to evade the bad guys and locate her children, the crooks start to realize that their adversary is not just a simple mother who is going to give up easily. As the crooks hunt down Shaun, she is also manipulating the situation to mess up the criminals’ plans, and cause some division in their ranks. However, every time it seems like Shaun is about to succeed, there is some new wrench or unexpected twist. The same goes for the bad guys—whenever they seem to finally have the upper hand on Shaun, she finds some new way to switch up the situation.
Gabrielle Union is fantastic as this ordinary mother who performs some pretty extraordinary feats when the lives and safety of her children is on the line. You really get the sense that she will let nothing get in her way. The criminals also have very distinct personalities—it’s interesting to see how this group works together, and how Shaun uses their personalities to her advantage. While you’ve got the brains in leader Eddie, and the reason and heart in Sam, Duncan is a wildcard who runs on greed and violence. Richard Cabral is delightfully menacing in this role—Duncan is definitely someone I wouldn’t want to cross!
The film takes viewers on a tense, but fun roller-coaster ride of emotions as you watch this woman fight to save her family, while facing seemingly insurmountable odds and some deadly enemies. This release includes both the theatrical version of movie as well as an unrated director’s cut. However, the runtime difference is just 20 seconds, so I’m not sure how different these actually are.
This Blu-ray release provides a solid video and audio presentation. The picture remains clean and detailed in both lighter and darker scenes, and the audio track provides clear dialogue and makes nice use of the stereo and surround channels for the action sequences. The discs include over 30 minutes of deleted/extended scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes as well as an excellent audio commentary by the director and screenwriter. The Blu-ray and DVD discs come packed in a standard HD keepcase with a cardboard slipcover. The release also includes an Movies Anywhere HD digital copy of the unrated cut of film as well as a code for a bonus digital movie.
- 1080p / Widescreen 2.39:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio Service, Spanish 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- 480p / Anamorphic Widescreen 2.39:1
- Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio Service, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- Movies Anywhere Digital HD copy of the Unrated Director’s Cut of the film
- Bonus Digital Movie (Redemption Deadline 2/3/2019)
Additional bonus digital movie redeemable at www.upherewards.com. The list of available titles currently includes Frank & Lola, About Time, Dead in Tombstone, Cry Baby, The Adjustment Bureau and The Bourne Supremacy, but these change every 4 months or so.
Digital HD (For redemption deadline, see NBCUCodes.com)
The same bonus material appears on both the Blu-ray and the DVD disc.
- Alternative Opening – The Gas Station (2:08)
This alternate opening scene finds Shaun having a panic attack in a gas station bathroom. In the optional commentary by director James McTeigue and scriptwriter Ryan Engle, the filmmakers explain that the scene was cut because it made it look like Shaun had something to do with her father’s death.
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (14:28)
Collection of four scenes. Play All or select from “Extended Drone Sequence”, “Where’s the Safe, Sweetheart?”, “Running For Your Life”, and “Eddie and Justin Fight”. In the optional commentary by director James McTeigue and scriptwriter Ryan Engle, the filmmakers explain why the scenes were ultimately cut/shortened.
- One Bad Mother… (4:19)
The cast and filmmakers talk about the character of Shaun Russell, and the extraordinary things this mother is able to do while trying to protect and save her family. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with producers Gabrielle Union (“Shaun Russell”), Craig Perry & Will Packer, director James McTeigue, screenwriter Ryan Engle, and actors Mark Furze (“Peter”) & Levi Meaden (“Sam”).
- A Filmmaker’s Eye: James McTeigue (5:06)
The filmmakers talk about the look of the film and the use of handheld cameras and steadicams, and the cast talk about working with the director. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with producers Will Packer, Gabrielle Union & Craig Perry, screenwriter Ryan Engle, director James McTeigue, director of photography Toby Oliver, and actors Richard Cabral (“Duncan”) and Billy Burke (“Eddie”).
- A Lesson in Kicking Ass (4:19)
The cast and filmmakers talk about the film’s fight scenes and action sequences. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with producers Will Packer, Craig Perry & James Lopez, director James McTeigue, director of photography Toby Oliver, and actors Gabrielle Union and Mark Furze.
- A Hero Evolved (2:54)
The cast and filmmakers talk about making a film with a female protagonist. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with director James McTeigue, producers Craig Perry & James Lopez, and actresses Gabrielle Union & Ajiona Alexus (“Jasmine Russell”).
- Feature Commentary with Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle
The director and scriptwriter provide an entertaining and informative commentary throughout the film. They first talk about how the film came about, and then get into a scene-by-scene analysis as the film plays out, talking about how scenes were shot, character motivations, the storylines, and more. The track is available on both the Theatrical version and the Unrated Director’s Cut of the film.
Breaking In is an excellent thriller that doesn’t waste a lot of time setting things up before jumping into the action. There are lots of tense, edge-of-your-seat moments, and unexpected twists. The film also features some strong performances by the main cast. Universal’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds great, and includes a nice selection of bonus material. This release comes recommended for anyone looking for a solidly-entertaining new thriller.