Sleepless Review

  • Directing6.5
  • Writing5.5
  • Acting7

Baran bo Odar's Sleepless is a typical January action flick on auto-pilot, with a convincing performance from Jamie Foxx and enough straight-forward action to keep your brain occupied, but don't go expecting any hidden punches or surprise bursts of quality film.

Baran bo Odar‘s Sleepless is an American remake of the foreign actioner Sleepless Night, which follows a crooked cop as he fights his way through a nightclub in attempt to save his son from drug dealers and mob bosses. Sleepless is the type of action film that fits perfectly in the soulless month of forgotten January movies, because while it does contain decent action and a storyline that makes some sense — it’s not exactly the most original film, given its remake street cred and lack of distinguishing execution. It’s Taken without Liam Neeson.

Vincent (Jamie Foxx) is a dirty Las Vegas cop just trying to earn a little extra for his family. His son doesn’t exactly care for him, because Vincent spends more times on the street than he does taking care of his own, which comes to a head after a quick grab job goes horribly wrong.

Now, his son is in the hands of some very bad people and Vincent must find a way to make all parties happy, while also avoiding internal affairs, led by Jennifer Bryant (Michelle Monaghan).

Baran bo Odar‘s Sleepless is a remake of Sleepless Night, which I have been told is one hell of an action flick. That film primarily (or entirely?) takes place inside of a never-ending nightclub, which makes way for inventive directing and bone-crunching action…or so I’ve been told.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to sit down with Sleepless Night just yet, which makes Sleepless a brand-new viewing that was judged without any prior expectations.

And as is, Sleepless is an action flick that goes through the all-too-familiar motions in the most bland of ways, with Jamie Foxx occasionally letting out a loud scream or shout, while the rest of the cast sinks their teeth into some paper-thin characters that simply ensure the film has enough twists and turns to earn its recycled viewings on FX or TNT for years to come.

Sleepless isn’t an awful movie or even a completely poorly shot film, but it doesn’t exactly embrace its material beyond the extent of possibly creating a series of forgettable movies for Jamie Foxx to keep rescuing his son from.

Yeah, the film’s ending almost feels like it’s begging for a decent box office, so that it can become the new generation’s Taken.

The R-rating is refreshing and fitting, but mostly makes way for language and the occasional spurt of blood. There’s not a whole lot of comprehensible action, with most of the film’s action suffering due to poor lighting and an over-focused camera.

Characters that aren’t Jamie Foxx or Scoot McNairy seem to blend together as the bullets fly and the fists deliver.

The twists are dropped into the film at just the right moments, to ensure that you’re still following along the overly convoluted plot line that can be summed up in a few sentences.

Baran bo Odar doesn’t leave a lasting impression from a directing standpoint. Nothing sticks out, especially the film’s weak attempt at mostly taking place inside of a Las Vegas casino. There’s no theme or consistency with the setting and scenery to make the nightclub look anything more than an excuse to bump the music and turn the strobe lights on.

Jamie Foxx gives a performance that feels tired and worthy of much more. He doesn’t exactly phone it in, but you can tell that he shouldn’t be slumming it this low.

Same goes for his co-stars, Michelle Monaghan, Scoot McNairy and to a lesser extent Dermot Mulroney. McNairy indulges on his performance, giving us something that’s not exactly over-the-top fun, but worthwhile enough to be a baddie, while Mulroney mostly fits in as a slimy nightclub owner trying to snag a bit more power.

Most of the cast feels over-qualified — but not a single person gives a bad performance.

Sleepless won’t exactly put you to sleep, but it’s not the most exciting film either. I went in fully knowing what to expect and I mostly got that. It’s a formulaic action flick that takes no chances to separate itself from the dozens before it and the dozens that are surely to come after it.

The Las Vegas setting doesn’t really enhance the viewing, nor does Jamie Foxx as the tough-as-nails crooked cop stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But that’s not to say that some won’t find enjoyment in watching Foxx beat his way through a casino in hopes of rescuing his more-than-useful son. Seriously, his son takes just as much of a beating as he does and that alone might be the film’s only memorable trait.

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