By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
is one tough mother in her dramatic, new movie “Breaking In.”
This is Union’s most daring and impressive film to date.
Directed by James McTeigue (TV’s “Sense8”) and produced by Will Packer (“Ride Along 2”), “Breaking In” keeps the suspense flowing minutes from the opening scene and throughout its taut 88 minutes run time.
Shaun Russell (Union) isn’t thrilled about having to pack up her kids, Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus, “Acrimony”) and Glover (Seth Carr, young Killmonger in “Black Panther”) and take them on a road trip to Wisconsin. But, her father—who she hasn’t been close to since childhood-- has suddenly died and now she’s tasked with selling his ranch estate.
When they arrive, Jasmine (Alexus) and Glover (Carr) can’t believe their eyes and that this is where their mother grew up. It’s massive. It has horse stables and several other special rooms.
However, what’s most impressive is the ranch is equipped with some of the best high tech surveillance equipment imaginable, from a high-def camera monitoring system to retractable window shutters and bullet proof windows.
Whatever Shaun’s father was in to, it was obviously a dangerous line of work.
And as they all begin to survey the place inside and out, something feels just a bit off.
And it is.
Shaun, Jasmine and Glover aren’t the only ones at the house. Some guys have broken into the place and are trying to locate a safe that supposedly has millions of dollars in it.
These crafty and ruthless criminals include a psycho, knife-wielding dude named Duncan (Richard Cabral, TV’s “American Crime”), the maniacal, Peter (Mark Furze, “I Can Only Imagine”), a crazed, but cautious Sam (Levi Meaden, “Pacific Rim: Uprising”) and their fearless and calculating leader, Eddie (Billy Burke, TV’s “Major Crimes”).
If all goes well, nobody will get hurt. They’ll find the safe, get the money and go. We know how these stories go down. Things don’t go as planned and people do get hurt big time.
The problem is that these thieves are way in over their heads. They assume the Russell family will be easy targets.
And this is when screenwriter Ryan Engle (“Rampage”) ramps up the suspense in ‘Breaking In.” He keeps us fixated on every move and every sound.
When Shaun is outside and the kids are in the house, they soon are forcibly taken by the intruders and tied up in a room.
Once Shaun realizes she has lost contact with them through the intercom and can’t get back in the house, she goes ballistic.
You can’t rationalize with irrational criminals, so Shaun has to think several steps ahead of them in order to keep her family alive. And does she ever.
For the baddies, this invasion becomes a race against time. They’ve cut all access to the alarm and phones in the house and have 90 minutes before police arrive.
Seems like a lot of time actually, but OK. I won’t hold that entirely against screenwriter Ryan Engle, because everything else falls into place and there are some nifty, little unforeseen twists that add to the drama. Not to mention, some hiccups that occur among the thieves that soon has their plans heading south.
And Union—who is truly convincing here-- uses every bit of brute force and ingenuity to rescue her kids. She takes some major blows, but dishes out plenty good ones too. Her kids are also pretty resilient under the circumstances.
That, along with a suspenseful story line makes “Breaking In” an effective little thriller.
will be enjoying some major birthday celebrating and fun and won't be on KFBK (93.1 FM and 1530 AM) May 11 for my movie review segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show, but will return on air May 18.
In The Meantime Watch This Trailer For "BREAKING IN"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.