By Wilson Morales
The whole point of doing a remake is to either introduce a new audience to a forgotten or cult classic or bring in an American version if it’s based on a foreign film. With Sleepless, it’s based on the 2011 critically acclaimed French film “Nuit Blanche.” The premise was simple. The movie centers on a crooked cop who searches a nightclub for his kidnapped son while avoiding drug dealers and law enforcement.
With a cast that includes Oscar winner Jamie Foxx in the lead role, along with Michelle Monaghan, rapper T.I., Gabrielle Union, Dermot Mulroney, and Scoot McNairy, there some level of interest. Directed by Baran Bo Odar, who’s not familiar to an American audience, the script was written by Andrea Berloff, who was Oscar nominated for co-writing Straight Outta Compton.
Needless to say, Sleepless is a mindless, non-stop action film that’s contrived, illogical and disappointing. Not only does it feel as if Foxx took on the role for a quick check, but it seems like everyone did the same.
Set in Las Vegas, Vincent Downs (Foxx) and his partner Sean Cass (T.I.) are in the midst of robbing a massive bag of cocaine from casino owner Stanley Rubino (Mulroney) when his men show up and there’s a heavy gunfight exchange. Downs’ masked gets pulled but he and Sean manage to escape with the drugs. Turns out Vincent and Sean are cops and are assigned to investigate the case they themselves created. Also brought in on robbery case is Internal Affairs led by Jennifer Bryant (Michelle Monaghan) and her partner Doug Dennison (David Harbour). Bryant, for no given reason, is already suspecting Vincent is more involved than it seems.
Having just picked his 16-year-old son, Thomas (Octavius J. Johnson) at the hospital where this ex (Union) works as a nurse, Vincent is then ambushed by Rubino’s men and his son is kidnapped with a stab wound in the stomach. Seems that the drugs Vincent and Sean that stole were meant to go to mobster Novak (Scoot McNairy), who promised his father those drugs for some other business arrangement. With the clock ticking away, Vincent is left to do some crazy stunts to do whatever is necessary to rescue his son from the casino before Rubino and Novak decide to kill him. All this while avoiding Bryant, who is also pursuing the truth.
To be released this early of the year and with no advanced screening for critics is to say that the studio (Open Road) had no faith in the film. This time of the year is considered a dumping ground, but this has the potential of doing well if all you want to see is action and there’s plenty of it. Much like the original, there are some fight scenes, from the kitchen to the drag out bout between and Vincent and Jennifer, but that doesn’t take away the fact that there are more implausibilities than anyone can imagine. Take away Jamie and this is a good B film. He’s too good an actor to be doing this type of film at this stage of his career. This would have been more suited for him a decade ago and before he did 2004’s ‘Collateral,’ which netted him an Oscar nomination. Playing Downs’ partner, T.I. is wasted. He’s merely there for plot purposes. As for Monaghan, it’s a good scenery for her. Having played the wife or girlfriend in countless films, it’s good to see a new range in her and be a badass who can fight.
There’s much craziness in this film, there’s no time to think about the hows, whens, and whys. Considering how the original film was well-received, this feels as if the only effort put was the casting. When Gabrielle Union shows up at a critical moment in the film, and all one can do is stop from laughing at the absurdity of her presence there, that’s as much you can take if you were looking for any substance. Either, you will like this film for its action or think about the next and hopeful quality choice any of the actors will make when leaving the theater.
Clip – Come On Dad
Clip – What Happened To Your Face?
Clip – Where’s Thomas
Clip – Stay Right There
Clip – You Messed Up