When it comes to being tough as nails you’d be rather secure in the knowledge that as a leading man Jamie Foxx can certainly hold his own and forge a character worthy of your backing from the get-go. Sadly, that certainly isn’t the case with his latest venture, Sleepless, a film that is all too devoid of any connection with its characters while also providing one of the most predictable cinema experiences you’ll have all year.
Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx) isn’t your conventional Las Vegas cop, often dragged in by the bright lights and dark corners of the Vegas underworld along with his partner Sean Cast (T.I.). After a job involving some cocaine lands them in some trouble with some shady individuals, including the unhinged Rob Novak (Scoot McNairy), Vincent’s son Thomas (Octavius J. Spencer) is kidnapped.
With those involved demanding that the cocaine that he and his partner stole be returned in a trade for his son and a pair of suspecting fellow officers (Michelle Monaghan and David Harbour) on his tail, Vincent must navigate his way through the streets and casinos to save the family he loves.
Years ago we found ourselves in the pleasant company of Jamie Foxx driving around a neon-infused street scenario with Tom Cruise in tow for Michael Mann’s enthralling Collateral. It was a high point for Foxx as he served up one of his finest career performances and promised so much more for the future. Fast forward some years and he finds himself in a similar scenario, with neon lighting his path, but this time to a film devoid of so many positive factors and ultimately nothing we haven’t already seen.
Instantly feeling like a crime thriller we’ve negotiated through time and time again, Sleepless‘s setup in paint-by-numbers, leaving Foxx’s character with a mission to save his son and take down the bad guys. It’s cliched to the high heavens and never at any point does Sleepless feel like the high stakes it really should be – ironic that it should be set in and around Vegas’ biggest casinos…
This isn’t helped by the actors seemingly on autopilot, sleepwalking their way through scenes that are simply drained of any emotional complexities or punch, leaving us the audience feeling nothing for them at all. When twists come they feel underwhelming and in a clear replication of characters such as John McClane, when Foxx’s cop gets shot or injured we simply don’t care if he’s ready to bleed out before he can thwart the enemy. It just all feels terribly dull and uninteresting that by the time we finally reach a conclusion we simply do not care.
Michelle Monaghan has some depth to her character but is all too often left with sticky dialogue and not enough to do, while Foxx is constantly mumbling his way through dialogue in favour of delivering some brutally damaging gun and hand-to-hand combat scenes that serve as necessities rather than anything worthy within the film’s runtime. As for T.I. we can safely say that this s a guy who should simply stick to the music…
For a film that is set in a location primed for striking visuals and some well thought out set pieces, Sleepless is mightily disappointing in its delivery of excitement and refreshing sequences. It all feels massively cliched and as if we’re stuck in the same gear throughout, leaving a sour taste from the very early stages. The film remains predictable with its multiple plot twists seen from a mile away and certain scenes having been plucked from other more successful properties within the genre.
With Foxx hardly a strong presence and Monaghan failing to conjure up something of measurable success in the character stakes, Sleepless will rather send you to sleep than leave you awake thinking about it.
Sleepless is out in UK cinemas now.