I originally skipped going to see this film in theaters during its initial theatrical run not because I heard any negative reviews about the film, but mainly because the trailers and marketing for the film didn't catch my eye. The film essentially flew under the radar in theaters and quietly made it to DVD in less than a few months. Now that the film is out on video, I decided to give it a chance as a new release and someone who enjoys a good action movie. Having seen Sleepless now, I can understand exactly why this film underperformed in theaters and why the marketing wasn't very strong for it. The movie simply isn't very good.
Sleepless is an uninspired and tired old crime drama, that completely wastes it's talented cast among the likes of Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan, along with its source material that could've been truly compelling had the filmmakers given much more effort to the story. The film is devoid of any real thrills and feels rushed while recycling every tired out clichéd in the book. This is one of those films that either needed to be really good or really bad to leave an impression with audiences as this film comes off as being utterly forgettable. The story centers around a cop with a connection to the criminal underworld scourings a nightclub in search to his son whose been kidnapped by drug dealers, who don't know that he's an undercover cop. In term of performances Foxx and Monaghan do the best job they can with the material given to them, which ultimately results in lame scriptwriting. Sleepless is a action crime drama that feels like a doomed project from the start but is made to be digestible through editing that makes the film move at a fast pace that makes its dullness less torturous for audiences. The script borrows almost every major clichéd from other crime drama films, making it unexciting and not allowing the audience to become emotionally invested in the characters particularly Foxx trying to save his on while evading Monaghan's character. For a subplot that could've been quite powerful had it been given more elaboration and development, it ends up being an afterthought for the audience. The film also lacks truly compelling and sleazy villains that the audience can despise and wasn't to see brought to justice by Foxx's character as he fights to save his son. The subplot involving Michelle Monaghans character trying to pursue Foxx's character thinking he's a dirty cop is poorly fleshed out and comes off as being rather silly than compelling. The films flatness and lack of inspiration from the movies opening scene to the climax leaves the audience thinking and feeling that the director and screenwriter behind the film were simply unenthusiastic about the project, leaving the actors with the work of trying to take a watered down script and make the material at least watchable without transcending the material. With the genre of the film being action and crime, Sleepless comes off as being rather dull, boring, and uninspired. One can only imagine what a passionate director could've done with this concept, and the theme of a child being taken with the father being left with no choice but to save him himself could've gone the action route of films like Taken in regards to edginess. The moral of the story is not to assume that a cop working a high profile case is a dirty one or working with the bad guys, but that message never fully feels like its properly conveyed to the audience.
The greatest crime with the film Sleepless is not that the move itself is poorly done but how forgettable the film is. One will end up watching the movie and will essentially forget everything about the film afterwards as it never leaves an impact on the viewer which is a shame because a crime drama should always leave a moral lesson for the audience to ponder on once the ordeal is finished. With talented actors like Foxx and Monaghan at the helm, one wishes that they had stronger material to work off of and help flesh out the story rather than playing paper-thin characters. As far as 2017 films go, Sleepless is one of the more disappointing and forgettable ones that only makes for passable entertainment if audiences have nothing else to watch, but should discard it immediately after and put on a stronger action and crime drama film with a similar story to see how its actually done. Sleepless is routine and an average journey that lacks excitement, thrills, a gripping emotional core, and never gets the audience fully invested in its scenario. The greatest tragedy is not the film wasting the talents of everyone involved, the tragedy is knowing what could've been had the story been done right with greater care. The film even goes out of its way to set up a sequel that no one is interested in nor will support because of this movies shortcomings and box office failure.
4 out of 10