HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:77
There was a time when I could rely on endless action sequences to entertain in a movie. My high school years were littered with Van Damme films, Jackie Chan beating the snot out of people and other DTV movies that were just plain guns, knives, explosions, fast cars and fast women. What more could a growing boy want? Well, as I’ve matured at least a SEMBLANCE of plot is welcome and “Sleepless” sadly delivers on only the first thing. Based off of the French film “Nuit Blanche”, “Sleepless” is a lackluster cop thriller that follows the action/thriller playbook to a T. So much so that you can literally predict everything that is about to happen way before incidents even occur. The solid cast of actors can’t seem to elevate it over what it is, and we’re left with flashy action scenes (that are OF COURSE jam packed with a million quick cuts so we can’t see what’s going on) and not much else.
Vincent Downs (Jaimie Foxx) is a dirty cop. Both he and his partner Sean (T.I. Harris) pull off a job, only to find out that it’s a lot hotter than they expected. What seemed like an easy heist certainly WAS easy, but the mark wasn’t who they thought it was. Instead of robbing some nobody they ripped off a drug kingpin named Rubino (Dermot Mulroney). A drug kingpin who kind of wants his money back. Rubino retaliates by kidnapping Vincent’s son Thomas (Octavius J. Johnson) and holds him hostage unless the dirty cop brings him the drugs back. The thing is, Vincent is right in the middle of trying to wrap up his own case (the case where he and his own partner ripped off Rubino), and internal affairs agent Bryant (Michelle Monaghan) is sticking her nose right where it doesn’t belong.
Grabbing the coke from Sean, Vincent sets out to Rubino’s casino to make things right, but that’s when all hell breaks loose on the dance floor. Vincent stashes the drugs in a bathroom and negotiates for his son’s release, but Agent Bryant tracks him down and finds his drugs, moving them before the cop can come back and make the trade for his son’s life. Now Vincent has to find a way to appease a drug dealing kingpin, a psychopathic drug lord whom the coke was MEANT for (played by Scoot McNairy), keep out of the sights of Agent Bryant, get Thomas to safety, AND get out of this whole situation alive without getting caught.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=95442[/img]Andrea Berloff’s script is sadly very lackluster for the film at hand. Nothing really makes sense and what does make sense is riddled with action clichés and stupid cop moves that leave the viewer staring at the screen wondering what idiotic move the heroes AND the villains are going to make next. It’s not enough that we have the hardnosed female cop who refuses to listen to reason, but we have the classic dirty cops who aren’t really dirty cops, and clean cops who really are dirty that has been present in your average action movie for the last 50 years. Everything is taken straight out of the “action movies for dummies” playbook and is so set and paced that you already know what’s going to happen before it does.
I’ve always liked Jamie Foxx since his “In Living Color” days and he has impressed me as a dramatic actor quite a few times. However, the award-winning actor appears to be asleep at the wheel, mumbling most of his lines and looking forward with a completely braindead stare on his face the entire movie. Not only was his heart not in the picture, but any of his skill or effort at ALL. Gabrielle Union tries with the 7 or 8 minutes of screen time that she has, but her talents are sadly wasted by being a glorified cameo. The only one who seems really willing and able to pull off his part is Scoot McNairy (who loves playing sleazy bad guys) as he hams up his role as the maniacal drug lord who wants his coke back. Everyone else just goes through the paces (even Monaghan is surprisingly weak, overacting an incredible amount with every line she’s given) for the 95 minute film.
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=95450[/img]The script isn’t the greatest and the acting isn’t stellar either, but Universal’s 2.39:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray looks amazing. The entire image is spent 95% of the time in the dark of night or dimly lit casino rooms, and is covered with a distinctly blue looking filter much of the time. That means shadows and murky neon lights take up a majority of the color spectrum. The digital shoot has some spikes in digital noise in the smoky rooms, and when Scoot McNairy is blasting away with the smoke grenades in the underground parking garage some banding shows up in the smoke, but other than that there really isn’t anything wrong with the picture. Facial details are crisp and well defined, and intimate clothing details show up incredibly well. Long shoots are a little smooth, but show some great detail in the daytime shots when Vincent is talking to his wife. Blacks are good to great, with significant amounts of shadow detail despite the murky surroundings and lack of light.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=95458[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track from Universal is a BEAST of a mix. Bass heavy from the very get go, it doesn’t let go of you until the very end as constant fisticuffs and the sounds of smashing bodies through furniture, glass, walls and anything else at hand makes great use of the whole soundstage. The LFE is just punishing, with that heavy thumping that just doesn’t let up and kicks you right in the chest with lots and lots of mid bass. Surrounds are utilized extremely often with the club pounding tracks left and right, plus the sound of gunfire and car chases light up those rears like you wouldn’t believe. Dialog is strong and clear with the only problem being T.I. Harris and Jamie Foxx mumbling so much it’s kind of hard to hear them.
• One Long Night: The Making of Sleepless - Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
“Sleepless” didn’t have that effect on me. In fact, I was spending more time trying to stay awake than I normally do. The dull acting, moronic choices by characters, and endless acting scenes just sort of lull you into a semi coma and you only shake your way out of it when the credits start to roll. The cheap action film isn’t a HORRIBLE film in reality, but it is so generic and cliched that it brings nothing new to the table and just ends up being completely forgettable. Universal’s Blu-ray package has some stellar technical specs, but sadly the rest of the film couldn’t make up the slack. Personally I’d skip it, but for those who like action flicks it might make a semi decent rental.
Starring: Jaimei Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Michelle Monaghan
Directed by: Baran bo Odar
Written by: Andrea Berloff (Screenplay), Frédéric Jardin (Based on the French film "Nuit blanche", Written by)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DVS
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 18th, 2017
Buy Sleepless On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Low Low Rental
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