Sleepless (2 stars)

Sleepless

Jamie Foxx takes on an army of pursuers in this preposterous police thriller from Baran bo Odar

Oh, good grief, how much sillier can thrillers get? This preposterous wheeze finds Jamie Foxx starring in a sort-of remake of the boffo French 2011 action flick Sleepless Night (Nuit Blanche). He's Las Vegas police lieutenant Vincent 'Vin' Downs, who has dodgy connections to the underworld and stages a heist of 25 kilos of cocaine with his cop partner. The drugs belong to a very oily hotel-casino owner (Dermot Mulroney, who has all of the film's funny lines, of which there are maybe three). He arranges for Vin's sulky teenage son to be kidnapped in an attack that leaves Vin with a serious knife wound, and wants his drugs back or the boy gets it.

That's the initial set-up, complete with obligatory car chase and shootout. From there the entire movie takes place in the hotel-casino in more-or-less real time, as Vin sprints around from penthouse to spa, from kitchen corridors to casino floor and up in the ever-popular air vent crawl spaces. While desperately trying to rescue his son, he plays pass the parcel with bin bags full of a) cocaine or b) sugar.

Vin has his hands full bluffing and evading three separate sets of pursuers: the agitated casino owner and his mean musclemen, miffed psycho-killer drug lord (Scoot McNairy) to whom the cocaine was supposed to be delivered (with his own set of henchmen and suitable weaponry for invading a country, naturally) and a furiously pig-headed Internal Affairs detective (Michelle Monaghan) who has been tailing Vin, with her less enthused partner (David Harbour). Actually, make that four pursuers, as Vin's annoyed ex-wife (Gabrielle Union) keeps calling at the most inopportune moments, understandably curious to know the whereabouts of her child, while our hero spins one excuse after another. Eventually she drives down there herself and gets the gun out of her glove box (like you do).

The plot is basically a framework for one brutal fight scene after another. Foxx's Vin is certainly a stud, overpowering a queue of big thugs and the warrior princess policewoman like a superhero, even though he is bleeding copiously from that early knife wound to the gut. The best bit is a car chase actually on the casino floor. One empathises with the exasperated drug lord when he screams, 'I am tired of running around this goddamned casino! Where are my drugs?' Devotees of arthouse crime drama will feel Swiss director Baran bo Odar (The Silence, Who Am I) has fallen mightily afoul of Hollywood clichés, but fans of the agreeable Foxx may find this popcorn piffle sufficiently entertaining to warrant the sequel it so blatantly craves.

General release from Fri 5 May.

Sleepless

  • 2 stars
  • 2017
  • USA
  • 1h 35min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Baran bo Odar
  • Cast: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney
  • UK release: 5 May 2017

Vegas undercover cop Vincent Downs (Foxx) has to rescue his kidnapped son from a mobster (McNairy). Preposterous and inferior remake of boffo French action flick Sleepless Night; basically one brutal fight after another, but fans of the agreeable Foxx may find it entertaining.

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