BREAKING IN Family Movie Review3 min read

By Trina Boice

WHAT’S Breaking In ABOUT?

Gabrielle Union does a good job showing us what any mama bear will do to protect her cubs when some bad guys break into her house, trapping her kids inside while locking her outside. Unfortunately, the action-thriller movie is predictable.


Gabrielle Union is the capable protagonist, as well as one of the producers of the movie.  It’s refreshing that most of her decisions in the movie were smart, rather than the usual dumb choices characters tend to make in this genre.  Unfortunately, none of the characters were very well developed.  You never learn much about any of them.  One character shows up towards the end of the movie and I thought, “Wait! What? Where did he come from?”

Richard Cabral’s character is crazy bad, giving us the only real sense of urgency and peril that we want to see.  The bad guy leader, Billy Burke’s character, comes off looking bored during the entire movie.  While I enjoyed the other action thrillers that writer Ryan Engle created, like Non-Stop and The Commuter (I'm a Liam Neeson fan), this film doesn’t bring anything new to the genre.  The talented director of V for Vendetta, James McTeigue, doesn’t give us a clever, deep movie that we know he’s capable of.   For example, you see various things around the house that could be used as helpful weapons, but they end but fizzling into nothing.

A lot of the scenes are in a dark house or at night, so this movie might be hard to watch on a TV or computer monitor when it quickly goes to the cheap DVD bin at Wal-Mart or online streaming.


Breaking In is rated PG-13.  Things to be aware of:

  • While I was glad there weren’t a lot of F-bombs (there is 1), it was a bit odd to hear one of the bad guys use the word “friggin.” The intensity of peril at that point becomes laughable. There is some other profanity.

  • You see two people get run over by a car.

  • The teenage daughter’s boyfriend makes her a playlist full of sex songs, but the mom brushes it off like it’s nothing worth talking about.  Parents, please talk to your kids about the consequences of sex as a teen.

  • Teach your kids how to pick a lock.  Just sayin…

  • A child picks up a gun, but doesn’t know how to use it very well (as could be expected.)

  • Attempted rape, although you don’t see anything.  I would have gone full psycho revenge on that bad guy for that one act alone.  “Payback” in the movie poster isn't quite the right word for what happens in the movie.  The mom gets mad and just wants to protect her kids, but she doesn't get crazy or seek revenge, like the movie poster promises.

  • Violence and deaths.

  • If you choose to watch this movie with your kids, use the opportunity to talk to them about emergency preparedness strategies you decide to use as a family. We have been counseled to be prepared in all things.  Home security is certainly one area worthy of a family council meeting.


  • Family

  • Motherhood

  • Tenacity

    In many ways the male version of Breaking In, the time-bending thriller Frequency finds a father protecting his family from a murderous invader. So good! Rent or buy it here

Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program.  She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her 4 sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews at You can find her books on Amazon, and at

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