Action Blu-ray Review

‘Breaking In’ Blu-ray Review: Gabrielle Union Stars in this High-Concept, High-Tension Home-Invasion Thriller

August 7, 2018Ben MK

How far would you go to protect your family? Would you find a way to break into a highly-fortified house with a state-of-the-art security system to confront the three armed and dangerous men who are holding your two children hostage?

In V for Vendetta director James McTeigue and screenwriter Ryan Engle's Breaking In, that's exactly the scenario Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) finds herself in, when a group of criminals and ex-cons (Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Levi Meaden and Mark Furze) enter the Malibu Hills estate of her recently-deceased father, a prominent businessman accused of fraud and embezzlement, in search of the $4 million he has reportedly stashed away in a safe. But when they unexpectedly encounter Shaun's two kids, teenage Jasmine (Arjona Alexus) and her younger brother Glover (Seth Carr), what they don't count on is the strength of will, tenacity and ingenuity of their mother, who will stop at nothing to rescue her own flesh and blood.

A variation on David Fincher's Panic Room, Breaking In is the very definition of high-concept, with a threadbare plot that runs out of narrative steam long before Shaun has run out of fight. But thanks to the game performances of its cast — Union, in particular — the film makes the most of its simple storyline, resulting in a high-tension home-invasion thriller that ought to keep fans of the genre teetering on the edge of their seats.

Breaking In offers a satisfying experience on Blu-ray, thanks to a an excellent 1080p video encode and an equally robust DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix. Image quality is crystal clear, darker scenes never appear unintentionally murky, and vibrant color saturation makes for a pleasing contrast between the colder hues of nighttime outdoor scenes versus the warmer palette of indoor scenes. Similarly, the movie's audio design shines through with ease, whether it's dialogue, composer Johnny Klimek's score, or the sounds of hand-to-hand struggles, exploding fireworks, or music blaring from the house's speakers.

Universal's two-disc Blu-ray release includes two versions of the film (the theatrical version and an unrated director's cut), a DVD and an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Alternate Opening - The Gas Station (2:08) - A deleted scene playable with commentary by director James McTeigue and scriptwriter Ryan Engle.
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes (14:28) - Four additional scenes, playable with commentary by McTeigue and Engle ("Extended Drone Sequence," "'Where's the Safe, Sweetheart?," "Running for Your Life" and "Eddie and Justin Fight").
  • One Bad Mother... (4:19) - A look at the character of Shaun and what Gabrielle Union brings to the role.
  • A Filmmaker's Eye: James McTeigue (5:06) - The cast and crew talk about what McTeigue brings to the movie, from his style of cinematography to how he collaborates with his actors.
  • A Lesson in Kicking Ass (4:19) - A behind-the-scenes look at some of the fight choreography and stunt work in the film.
  • A Hero Evolved (2:54) - The cast and crew talk about the importance of having a woman of color as the movie's protagonist.
  • Feature Commentary with Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle - The pair talk about how the film came to be, the cinematography, their experiences shooting various scenes, the actors' performances, the different techniques used to create tension, and more.

Breaking In is available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment as of August 7th, 2018. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks, Spanish and French DTS 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 28 min.

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