Sleepless Will Make You Zzzz

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!




A Look Back @ Collateral

It’s Thursday, which means time for a throwback! So let’s go back into the archives for one of my favourite films from the vault.

Collateral will always stand out to be as the first DVD that I purchased, way back in 2004! I ended up buying it on a hunch, I hadn’t watched it before, the films box art was very slick, the plot sounded intriguing, plus it had Tom Cruise, so worth a punt! Needless to say, it was a great pick, and to this day, still stands out as one of my all-time favourite movies!


So the film revolves around the story of Max (Jamie Foxx), a cab driver in LA, who yearns to give up his life as a cabbie, and one day, run his own private limousine firm. One unfortunate night, Max picks up a dangerous passenger, a mysterious man named Vincent (Tom Cruise), who reveals himself as a contracted hit-man. Our cab driver is taken hostage, and forced into driving our assassin around the city as Vincent goes through his list of targets.

Max: I can’t drive you around while you’re killing folks. It ain’t my job!

Vincent: Tonight it is.

The film simply oozes style. The presentation is very well polished, director Micheal Mann portrays late night LA as a wonderfully noir setting. The film has a good habit of cutting away to the late night shots of the as transition points. The bright lights provide a serene backdrop to an urgent situation. The majority of the first half takes place in the cab, and we focus on the dialect and interactions between our two characters. The verbal exchanges between the two are just as good as the action. It’s a game of cat and mouse, one trying to get the upper hand on the other. Even though Vincent is a violent person, you can see him develop some respect for Max, and his way of life. Vincent could easily kill Max if he wanted, but the two develop a compelling bond, which is displayed when they have to visit Max’s mother at hospital. The chemistry between the two is so good; they almost stand out more than the action.

If I recall, this was one of the first roles in which Cruise played a straight out villain, so that was a big discussion point in the build up to the film’s release. Vincent is truly a great character, not only does he look the part, but he is convincing as a cold hearted mercenary. The film is not overtly violent, so the times it does get intense, are remarkable. The scenes where Vincent is required to show his ‘professionalism’ are memorable, especially the situation involving his briefcase! The film makes use of real gunshot effects, and you can tell. It just adds that extra layer of realism to the movie.

The set piece of the film is the unforgettable shoot out at Club Fever. If you’ve watched John Wick, this scene will look very familiar. This was the original though, and simply cannot be beat. The entire situation is captured magnificently, the action is thrilling, the tension is palpable, and the music just caps it off, “Ready,Steady,Go” is the perfect song, and it’s now synonymous with this movie! Even if you don’t have the time to watch the entire film, I would highly recommend you find this scene on YouTube!

Max: You killed him?

Vincent: No, I shot him. Bullets and the fall killed him.

Jada Pinkett Smith plays the attorney Max meets the same night as Vincent, plays an important part in the mission that our hit man has been sent on. Mark Ruffalo is huge now, but he had one of his earlier roles here! Taking on the role of the detective, who is on the trail of Vincent’s growing body count. Javier Bardem also features, as a wiley mob boss. There is also a cameo from none other than Jason Statham (with hair!)! Keep your eyes open during the opening moments when Vincent lands at LAX!

One other thing to mention, is the excellent soundtrack, the music encapsulates the vibe of the film, reflecting the night life of the city perfectly. The director was spot on with the choice of music used here, and that only helps make the film even greater!

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