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James McTeigue
Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Christa Miller
Writing Credits:
Ryan Engle

A woman fights to protect her family during a home invasion.

Box Office:
$6 million.
Opening Weekend
$17,630,285 on 2537 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13/Unrated.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS (Theatrical Only)
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 88 min. (Theatrical)
89 min. (Director’s Cut)
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 8/7/2018

• Audio Commentary with Director James McTeigue and Screenwriter Ryan Engle
• Alternate Opening
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• “One Bad Mother” Featurette
• “A Filmmaker’s Eye” Featurette
• “A Lesson in Kicking Ass” Featurette
• “A Hero Evolved” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Breaking In [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 30, 2018)

Probably best-known for 2005’s V for Vendetta, director James McTeigue returns with 2018’s Breaking In. When someone murders her father Isaac (Damien Leake), Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) takes her kids Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus) and Glover (Seth Carr) to the large, remote house where she spent her youth.

The home comes with ample security features, and these cause complications when a team of criminals leads an assault on the abode. They hold the children hostage inside the seemingly impenetrable house, and with Shaun on the outside, she struggles to find a way to save them.

With a US gross of $46 million, Breaking In doesn’t exactly qualify as a smash hit. However, given its modest $6 million budget, it turned an ample profit and demonstrated that an audience existed for this kind of thriller.

At the very least, Breaking In brings us a twist on the usual theme. Typically we’d find a story in which a beleaguered protagonist struggles to survive an onslaught from an outside party, but in this case, it’s the baddies that need to prevent the entry of the hero.

Outside of its status as a “reverse Panic Room, does Breaking In have much to offer? Not really – we get a semi-serviceable thriller but not something with more substance than that.

On the positive side, Union creates a viable protagonist. She gives Shaun the necessary “real mom” vibe but allows us to buy her butt-kicking/Die Hard side as well. In addition, Billy Burke plays the gang’s leader with a nicely gruff, serious feel that avoids potential for silliness or camp.

My only casting complaint comes from the use of Richard Cabral as the most psychotic of the criminals. His “Duncan” character comes portrayed as a bloodthirsty former gang-banger, and this strikes me as semi-tone deaf given the current political climate.

I don’t want to go “full politically correct” and state that we can never see psychotic Latinos in movies, but given the manner in which some politicians actively demonize Hispanics, Cabral’s character rubs me the wrong way. Though this is a small gripe, it nags at me.

Outside of fairly good lead performances, I find it more difficult to locate anything about Breaking In that stands out as impressive – other than perhaps its length. With a running time that clocks in under 90 minutes, the movie goes so quickly that it doesn’t tax the viewer’s patience.

This doesn’t make Breaking In a particularly good film, though, and the overall result feels pretty mediocre. Despite the slightly clever plot twist already mentioned, virtually every story element proceeds in a predictable manner, and nary a surprise pops up along the way.

The film also can’t muster any real tension or thrills, and not just because we know how it will end. If you think there’s a chance Shaun and/or her kids will die, you need to get out more.

Even with this predictable trend, though, the movie could offer drama – it just doesn’t. Everything about it feels rote and by the numbers, so sparks never fly.

Ultimately, Breaking In does enough right to remain a competent thriller even with the relative absence of real fireworks. It simply never becomes more than mediocre, though.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Breaking In appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I found an attractive transfer here.

Sharpness seemed fine. Only mild instances softness materialized in a few interiors, so I viewed most of the film as a tight, distinctive image.

No issues with jaggies or moiré effects occurred, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to mar the presentation.

In terms of colors, Breaking In went with a teal feel accompanied by splashes of orange/amber. This was expected from a modern thriller, so it’s unoriginal but typical of the genre circa 2018. The hues worked fine within those limitations.

Blacks seemed deep enough, and shadows showed good smoothness. I felt pleased by this well-rendered image.

In addition, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack fit the material. It used all the channels to give us music, and appropriate effects cropped up around the spectrum in a convincing manner.

Those elements meshed together in a concise way and helped give us a vivid sense of places and events. Not a ton of activity popped up, but when the track used the surrounds and sides in a lively way, it did so well.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was bright and bold, while speech came across as natural and distinctive.

Effects seemed accurate and dynamic, with clean highs and deep lows. The track worked fine for the material.

The Blu-ray includes both the movie’s “PG-13” theatrical version (1:28:01) as well as an unrated Director’s Cut (1:28:24). I only watched the longer edition, so I can’t comment directly on the changes.

That said, I suspect the “Director’s Cut” included a little extra violence that didn’t make the “PG-13” version, and it also came with a slew of “F-bombs” that wouldn’t fly with that rating. Given that the DC lasts a mere 23 seconds longer than the theatrical release, any changes clearly seem to be minor.

Next we go to an audio commentary from director James McTeigue and screenwriter Ryan Engle. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, editing and deleted scenes, photography, music and connected domains.

Don’t expect a lot of depth here, as we get only sporadic insights about the production. Instead, McTeigue and Engle mainly just narrate the movie. The occasional useful nugget arises, but I can’t claim I learned much from the track.

In addition to an Alternate Opening (2:08), we get four Deleted/Extended Scenes. These run a total of 14 minutes, 28 seconds and include “Extended Drone Sequence” (2:06), “’Where’s the Safe, Sweetheart?’” (8:29), “Running for Your Life” (0:42) and “Eddie and Justin Fight” (3:11).

The “Alternate Opening” doesn’t replace the movie’s actual first scene, as it’s supposed to still follow the death of Shaun’s father. It doesn’t seem very interesting so the existing intro to Shaun and the kids works better.

As for the other scenes, obviously “Safe” becomes the most significant one – based on length, at least. In execution, it simply adds to the existing segment and it doesn’t show much that seems especially interesting.

The remaining bits feel pretty forgettable as well. Don’t expect much that would seem compelling from this batch of cut scenes.

We can watch all these clips with or without commentary from McTeigue and Engle. They give us details about the scenes and let us know why they got the boot. McTeigue and Engle deliver a useful set of observations.

Four featurettes follow, and One Bad Mother runs four minutes, 19 seconds and offers comments from McTeigue, Engle, producers Craig Perry and Will Packer, and actors Gabrielle Union, Mark Furze, and Levi Meaden.

“Mother” focuses on Union’s character and performance. It tends to feel fluffy and it lacks much substance.

With A Filmmaker’s Eye, we get a five-minute, six-second piece with notes from McTeigue, Packer, Engle, Union, Perry, director of photography Toby Oliver, and actors Richard Cabral and Billy Burke.

“Eye” looks at production challenges/specifics and McTeigue’s take on the material. Despite a smidgen of happy talk, “Eye” manages to bring us a decent set of observations.

A Lesson in Kicking Ass goes for four minutes, 19 seconds and features Union, Packer, Perry, McTeigue, Furze, Oliver, and producer James Lopez. “Lesson” gives us thoughts about the movie’s stunts and action. It mixes happy talk with a few worthwhile elements to become a passable piece.

Finally, we find A Hero Evolved, a two-minute, 54-second reel with Union, McTeigue, Perry, Lopez, and actor Ajiona Alexus. The reel discusses the use of a black female protagonist. It seems self-congratulatory.

The disc opens with ads for Hotel Artemis, Scorpion King: Book of Souls, Unsane, Tales from the Hood 2 and I Feel Pretty. No trailer for Breaking In appears here.

A second disc delivers a DVD copy of Breaking In. It features all the same extras as the Blu-ray, including both cuts of the film.

At a brief 88 minutes, Breaking In goes by quickly enough so that it doesn’t wear out its welcome. However, the movie lacks much to make it stand out among other thrillers, so it fails to find a dramatic groove. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio along with decent supplements. Breaking In winds up as a brisk but forgettable tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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