Throwing weapons and breaking glass are just a few of the things Shaun Russell does to rescue her children in the action thriller Breaking In. Gabrielle Union who plays Shaun takes on money seeking intruders using her wit and household weapons. Union, known for romantic comedy movies and the hit BET show, Being Mary Jane, takes on a new role requiring her to transition her drama techniques into physical warfare to defeat the burglars taking over her house.
Breaking In has been criticized by reviewers for being a cliche thriller, dripping with predictability, while this claim is true in some scenes, Union breaks mom character stereotypes and proves herself a worthy action hero. Actresses Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson also nailed action roles proving that mom and aunt type characters can defeat evil villians on screen in the movies Kidnap and Proud Mary. Berry, Henson and Union are all over age 40, breaking the male dominated action hero glass ceiling in the genre.
Union’s character Shaun Russell has a lot of characteristics of her previous roles as Mary Jane Paul in Being Mary Jane and Kristen in Think Like a Man. Shaun is a career woman with successful parents from an upper middle class / wealthy background.
Union opens the film showing Shaun’s softer side, nurturing her children and grieving the loss of her father.
Union did a great job of moving the story along. There were scenes in Breaking In that slowed down the action but were necessary to help viewers understand the technology in the house and the backstory of Shaun’s father. The writers of the film could have given more explanation about Shaun’s background and bumped up the action in the middle of the movie to add more excitement. Union managed to hold the story together in spite of the script flaws.
The villians in the movie are worthy to be mentioned. Eddie (Billy Burke) was the tough ringleader of the home invaders looking to make quick cash and terrorize the family. The home used as the set in the movie had great architectural value that makes any viewer want to live there and possibly be willing to protect the property.
The supporting cast of young people was impressive in the movie. Ajiona Alexus, star of Empire and 13 Reasons Why, gave a great performance as Shaun’s daughter Jasmine. She helped moved the story along and stood up to the burglars to protect her brother Glover (Seth Carr) and help her mom along the story.
Overall, Breaking In is a movie worth going to see. Union will make you root for her. The touch action and violence will make you cringe as you cheer her on.