Breakaway is Die Hard in a Shopping Mall. Both films feature a cop in the wrong place at the wrong time dealing with terrorists/thieves at Christmastime. Instead of Bruce Willis though, we’re stuck with Dean Cain. We do have Eric Roberts essaying the Alan Rickman role and Erika Eleniak is a lot hotter than Bonnie Bedelia, so it’s not all bad news.
This is the type of movie they made hundreds of in the 90’s. Of course this was made in 2002, so that should tell you a lot. I don’t care though because it’s still a decent mindless way to kill 90 minutes (along with some brain cells). Because I’m such a sucker for a good Die Hard rip-off (heck, even the crappy ones are sorta fun), I wasn’t bothered too much by the flick’s various shortcomings.
Breakaway is a cheesy action flick that is confident enough in it’s cheesiness to embellish it’s ridiculous premise to the nth degree. It knows it’s a Die Hard rip-off but wears that as a badge of honor and not a scarlet letter. I also liked the fact that the villain is connected to the hero (both of their kids perform in the same Christmas choir don’t ya know). I’m not so sure they needed to make Roberts’ character sympathetic by giving him a sick kid and all, but it gives him something to work with. I only wish they had a better lead than Cain. He just can’t deliver his lines with the kind of sardonic sarcasm the role requires.
The flick stumbles around the third act, particularly when the action leaves the shopping mall. I think it was an extremely bad idea for Roberts to make his getaway on a dune buggy (?!?) but heck, it’s just so HUH that it still kinda works. (Besides Roberts actually got to make his getaway, something Alan Rickman never did.) I mean when’s the last time you saw a movie end with Dean Cain and Eric Roberts playing chicken on dune buggies?
As yuletide themed action flicks go; Breakaway is no Reindeer Games or anything, but it’s certainly goofy fun for indiscriminate action fans.
AKA: Christmas Rush.