You can always tell when it’s dead-of-winter January in movie land because studios dump forgettably titled (and truly bland) movies like “Sleepless” into theaters. This is nothing more than an average and predictable corrupt cop movie, but at least it’s entertaining. The film is buoyed by surprisingly good performances across the board (from Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan and Scoot McNairy) as well as some decently satisfying action sequences that keep it from nose-diving into oblivion.
This is essentially a bad cop chase movie set inside a Las Vegas casino. Foxx is undercover police officer Vincent Downs, a man who gets caught up in a world of corruption involving the illegal drug trade. As with most movies like this, a good chunk of the film is spent asking “is he or isn’t he?” a bad guy. Monaghan is believable as a — stop me if you’ve heard this before — rough and tumble, tough as nails Internal Affairs cop who tails him to uncover the truth. When Vincent’s teenage son is kidnapped by the really, really bad guys, he goes on a blood spattered rescue mission.
Director Baran bo Odar relies far too much on shaky hand-held cameras in an attempt to add more realism to this enterprise, but man is he good at beating you over the head with the fact that this movie is set and filmed in Las Vegas. The first 15 minutes of the film are predominantly spent on repetitive establishing shots of the city.
This is a pedestrian script (by “Straight Outta Compton” scribe Andrea Berloff) and would be better suited for a television or basic cable drama. Every predictable plot twist and police movie cliché is here, and only those who have never seen a film in this genre wouldn’t guess the surprises early on. While the majority of the story is uninteresting and dull, there’s a frenzy of bloody gun violence and fistfights that keeps things moving along, as well as an enjoyably cynical ending.
“Sleepless” is disposable but not really unbearably tedious nor unwatchable. It would make a decent (if totally forgettable) rental.