“Breaking In” Could Be 2018’s Sleeper Action Megahit

Matthew Loffhagen
Universal
(Photo: Universal)

Why has nobody told me about “Breaking In”? This is a movie about a superstar action hero that’s also a mom, so why isn’t it a bigger deal?

I must confess that I didn’t manage to find this movie through traditional means. The trailer for “Breaking In” showed up as a YouTube ad of all things, and took me completely by surprise.

Perhaps you already know about the movie, and I’m just late to the party. It wouldn’t be the first time, but let me run you through my experience watching the trailer.

First, there’s a small family in a car, driving through the countryside. Soft guitar music is playing, and the characters are joking around together.

It’s pretty much identical to the start of the “Ladybird” trailer, so I figured this must be a cute indie darling film, released at an unusual time of year.

Then, the family gets to a spooky house in the woods, and suddenly, I figure I must have something wrong. This must be a horror movie of some kind, with perhaps a ghost or monster that’s going to stalk the family while they’re exploring their dead relative’s home.

Then, nope! Everything takes a dramatic left-turn as the house locks, with a bunch of criminals inside, the kids tied up, and a terrified mother trapped in the garden.

My eyes lit up. This is a “Die Hard” clone? Awesome!

“Die Hard” Again

Hollywood never really got over “Die Hard” as a concept. The idea of a single hero trapped in a confined space against a team of trained killers has come up so often that it’s basically its own sub-genre.

We’ve had “Die Hard” on a plane (“Air Force One”), “Die Hard” on a bus (“Speed”), and even “Die Hard” in the White House – twice (“Olympus has Fallen” and “White House Down”).

There have been endless attempts to rework the setting of the “Die Hard” movie, not least the various official sequels themselves.

Breaking In
Source: Universal

What’s rarer is for the formula to be expanded upon by changing up the main character.

In the vast, vast majority of “Die Hard” movies, the hero is cut from the John McClain cloth; a grizzled, down-on-his-luck action star who also just so happens to be a middle-aged white man.

This is baked into the formula. If you’re making a “Die Hard” alike, you need a Bruce Willis stand-in.

What really catches my attention with “Breaking In” is the fact that, instead of a generic action hero, the star of the show is “Bring it On” actor Gabrielle Union.

Don’t Mess With Mommy

I love the idea of changing up the formula by making the hero a woman who is trying to save her kids. It brings an extra level of depth and emotion to the story that’s normally missing, and I completely buy the idea that a mom would stop at nothing to get her children back, even if it means fighting off armed criminals.

The fact that the main family in the story is African-American makes this even better. This feels like yet another step forward in representation, at a time when Hollywood is finally starting to come up with great roles for women of color.

So while I hadn’t even heard of “Breaking In” until the trailer showed up on my YouTube, I’m completely on board for this film.

Pay attention to this one – I have a feeling it could be 2018’s “John Wick”; a smart action thriller that comes out of nowhere to take everyone by surprise.