Friday, January 20, 2017

Movie Review: "Sleepless" (2017)

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Director: Baran bo Odar
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx), a seemingly dirty cop, has his son kidnapped by a casino owner who wants him to return the 25 kilos of cocaine he and his partner stole earlier that morning. 

"Sleepless" is directed by Baran bo Odar and is based on the French language film "Nuit Blanche," aka "Sleepless Night." As the film begins, Vincent Downs, played by Jamie Foxx, and his partner Sean Cass, played by T.I., steal 25 kilos of cocaine, which unbeknownst to them belongs to 'Luxus' casino owner Stanley Rubino, played by Dermot Mulroney, who is supplying for a psychopathic drug dealer named Rob Novak, played by Scoot McNairy. In retaliation, Rubino kidnaps Vincent's 16-year-old son Thomas, played by Octavius J. Johnson. He demands Vincent return his drugs or his son will be killed.

"Sleepless" could easily be alternately titled "Expected Action Movie #542." This is the typical kind of mindless action thriller we see every January, the ones that seem like they are trying to be clever and fresh, but fail at every possible twist and turn. There is never a point in this movie when we don't see what's coming from a mile away. The plot points from beginning to end are so obvious. We know who is dirty and who is clean long before it is ever actually revealed within the context of the story. We can predict down to the second when characters on the brink of death will be miraculously saved. Are we fortune tellers? Nope, this film is just *that* generic and tired. It is full of contrived moments where characters do stupid things for no reason other than to be a catalyst for cool looking action sequences or are done in a way to try and extend the plot by just a few precious extra seconds. We see a generic main villain sporting a gas mask shooting gas canisters around a parking garage while the good guys run through the smoke with no masks on and no effect from the gas. It's moments like this that leave us to wonder what the hell is in these canisters, and simultaneously, why the hell are the bad guys wearing gas masks if the smoke does nothing other than add ambiance!? These instances, along with many others, rip us right out of the movie and destroys our suspension of disbelief. As a character, Vincent Downs is also regularly a victim of his own stupidity. Did we mention he gets into several fights, runs several places, and gets into numerous other dalliances all while having gotten stabbed quite badly at the beginning of the movie? That cut is either the best-placed cut for optimum movement but simultaneously tons of bleeding since he only winces and groans occasionally, or it never really crossed director Baran bo Odar's mind to, you know, leave it out of the film entirely since it doesn't seem to make a huge difference either way.

We like Jamie Foxx as an actor. He's not worked on a lot of fantastic things in his career in the last few years other than "Django Unchained," but "Sleepless" is not the proper vessel for him. We know Foxx is capable of being a fantastic actor, hell, he won an Oscar for his role as Ray Charles in "Ray," but such an uninteresting, drab, cookie-cutter action film like this doesn't do him any favors. Michelle Monaghan plays Jennifer Bryant, the internal affairs officer chasing down Foxx's Downs. She has had a stumble in her career and is trying to get back on track. Bryant has a hunch Downs is dirty, but needs concrete proof, so she follows him around, even getting into a physical altercation with him at one point. She is the only character Downs can defeat easily because every other time he gets into a fight, he swiftly gets his ass handed to him. David Harbour is the only character we really enjoyed, but we see the writing on the wall for his character within 2 minutes of his being introduced.

Despite "Sleepless" having a few fun action sequences, they aren't enough to save it from its contrived narrative, its dumb dialogue, and its not so great acting.

My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 15%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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