There’s been lull at the cinemas recently, with the behemoth that is Guardians dominating the box office, the releases around this time of year have been pretty low profile. One movie that has ducked under the radar is Sleepless, which is in fact a remake of the well acclaimed French movie Sleepless Night.
Sleepless sees our hero, Vincent Down (Jamie Foxx), working for the Las Vegas PD, working undercover to expose a drug cartel. After an operation goes wrong with his partner (T.I), Vincent ends up upsetting the wrong people, who in retaliation kidnap his son. The deal is simple, return their drugs, we return your son. But with Internal Affairs officer Bryant (Michelle Monaghan) on his case, not everything goes to plan!
Sleepless has not received the best of receptions critically, 22% & 33% are its scores on Rotten Tomatoes & Metacritic respectively. So expectations were not high going into this! It is fair to say though, while the movie may not be utterly dreadful, it is ridiculously dull. Considering the movie has corrupt cops, drug dealers, casinos and gangsters, it’s disappointing to see how tepid it ends up.
Foxx is by far the brightest light in the film, his role may be that of a generic undercover cop (his been undercover for 2 years you know!! He never stops mentioning it!) Who has to shun his family for the greater good, but he puts in a dedicated effort to bring some vigour to the movie. The film tries to put him at a disadvantage early on, with a stab wound, which was a great way to immobilize our protagonist. But it’s so inconsistent; the wound never acts up when his in a confrontation, but always magically flares up when he is being pursued. Fighting viciously in the kitchen? That’s fine, running down the stairs, wound says no!
The film also does a slick job with the filming, the Las Vegas sky line offers the film several moments to capture the scenery, and it’s something Collateral did very well in, a film that Foxx also starred in! Director Baron bo Odar deserves credit in that regards, creating a visually vivid production.
But that’s pretty much all there is regarding the positives, the rest of the cast and plot is dire. Bryant, who is supposed to be the foil to Down, spends most of the movie annoyed or standing around clueless in the Casino foyer! Monaghan just spends the movie dreary eyed looking lost half the time! It’s hard to take her character seriously when she can’t even suspect her colleague, who is pretty much the ‘most obvious corrupt cop ever ® ’, for being involved. Working in I.A should give her some knack of noticing suspicious behaviour! Also, she just isn’t a very good officer, even one of the staff in the casino call her out on it. Rather that giving a description of who she is looking for, she just barges in yelling! Great police work there!
The action to say the least feels like a low budget version of John Wick or as mentioned before, The Equalizer. They even have a club scene, which Collateral & John Wick executed in a far stylish way. The son, whose hand gets crippled, runs around the place like it’s all fine. A young kid who had his hand pretty much mangled should be in severe agony, but I suppose he does hold it every now and again, to show it’s injured!
The finale gets pretty nonsensical, after the mother, who is a nurse, just happens to join in with the gun toting shoot-out, which seemed so horribly out of place and rather comedic.
Scoot McNairy, as Novak, is adequate as the crazed son of a drug lord, who will torture even his own family if the situation arose, but our formulaic drug dealing casino boss Stanley Rubino, is so clichéd, you don’t care at all about what happens to him. Neither villains really stand out, and not once, feel like a real threat to our hero. The plot of the movie is so straight forwards. Summed up in ‘Where are my drugs?!’, literally that is all that happens here.
Sleepless could have worked, if the villains were fleshed out more, and the cast was given more to work with. You’re only really bothered about Jamie Foxx, and his journey throughout the film, every time it cuts away to another character, the film drastically drops any momentum it has. It’s in no ways the worst film to come out this year, but it feels like a movie that could have been released straight to DVD or Netflix!