A cop on suspension visits his wife at her work on Christmas eve because she’s mad at him. But her workplace turns into a hostage situation as armed men take control of the building to steal a large amount of money. The cop is onto them pretty quick and takes out the bad guys one by one as the bad guys eventually find out one of the hostages is his wife and use her as leverage. Sound familiar? Well get ready for a review of…
You probably thought I was describing Die Hard which this movie rips off, to the details even. Where most action movies made in the 90s could be described as “Die Hard on a <insert a location of your choice>” this made for Tv movie actually seems to have put the script of Die Hard under a copier and someone claiming to actually have written this movie changed names and a few small things here and there. Sadly one of those things he created was a huge plot hole in the beginning of the movie.
Die Hard was all about the wrong man at the wrong time in the wrong place. He was in an office bathroom when the bad guys came in, took hostages, cut the phone lines and very early on saw the CEO of the company get shot in cold blood. In an age where cell phones where not mainstream he was stuck and had to fight not only to stay alive, but to get help and be the help. Breakaway however was made in a time of cell phones and the phone lines apparently don’t seem to be cut, just the video surveillance tape of that day. The bad guys come in, work there way with ease to the level where the money is put into a carrier and they just stick the guys up, lock them up and go. If I would be witnessing such a crime, as the protagonist played by Dean Cain here is, I would dial 911, inform them of a robbery going on and get back up. Not go and steal their loot from them putting yourself and everybody, including your wife, in danger. In the end it’s just money. But no, hot-shot cop must do whatever seems right to him.
Ever since Die Hard villains have been made more charismatic, sometimes to a certain degree you root for them instead of the good guys. To humanize the villain here they have him played by Eric Roberts who specializes in playing sleaze bags and takes about every role that is offered to him. Seriously, just look at his resume. From The Young and the Restless to The Dark Knight, he does everything.
Here he’s Jimmy Scalzetti, father of a young boy suffering from Leukemia who needs a bone marrow transplant which costs $200,000. SO to pay for this operation he decides to steal the profits of Christmas Rush, the busiest day of the year according to his voice over narration during the opening credits. So here’s a guy stealing money to pay for a live saving operation treatment for his kid. If he was played by Denzel Washington he was going to be the hero and get away with the money.
At one point Dean Cain and Eric Roberts stand face to face and he actually begs him just to let him go with one bag of money just enough to pay for the treatment. Cain of course denies this plea and I actually felt like he was the bad guy. He stood eye to eye with the sick kids in a scene early on in the movie, overheard his parents talk about the surgery and the costs. I’m not saying that stealing is a good thing, but at least it was for a good cause right? Apparently the makers of this movie also felt that the kid at least have to be saved and put in a weird turn of events which felt so forced and contrived. It’s as if the movie was finished and they sat there with a product that said: it’s OK to have some kid die just so that all the retailers still have their money. Not really the Christmas spirit if you ask me.
Ignoring the plot hole it seems the Die Hard formula still works. It was hard to imagine seeing a lot of cheap c-movies being released over the years that use the formula on a $1,000 budget movie but somehow this made for TV movie looks better than movies like Icebreaker or Crackerjack.
Breakaway is a fun but forgettable little action movie that actually was better than I expected. The acting is decent enough and I must say that despite her not jumping out of a cake in this Die Hard rip-off Erika Eleniak is still very easy on the eyes.