Jamie Foxx is about a big a star as you’ll get these days, having taken over action movies as easily as biopics. He can hang in a comedy or he can go thriller on you as well. It’s all in his wheelhouse on the big screen and a reason he’s been in so many hits over the years. Well, now one of his more overlooked films is streaming on Netflix and is definitely worth checking out. Sleepless was just added to the platform this week and showcases Foxx’s talents in an action setting with a loose plot.
Sleepless is a crime action film with all of the mobsters, henchmen, dirty cops, drugs, guns, nightclubs and sports cars you picture in the genre. In this way it’s a paint-by-the-numbers affair for all of those involved. Jamie Foxx plays Vincent Downs, a Las Vegas Police Detective we see at the beginning of the film robbing a drug shipment. Dirty cop right? Well, not so fast. There’s more going on here than meets the eye. The heist goes down relatively as planned though it rubs some of the city’s criminal element the wrong way, obviously.
Jamie Foxx is then assigned his own case here, trying to get to the bottom of the drug heist and numerous bodies lying in the street. Another internal affairs cop gets suspicious of some dirty cops on the force, eventually assuming Downs is one such dude. When the bad guys realize the drugs have been hijacked and Foxx’s Downs is at the center of it though, they take matters into their own hands and kidnap the latter’s son. This is what sets off the sleepless chain of events with Foxx fighting his way through the city’s criminal underworld to bring his son home and expose the actual dirty cops on the force. Here, check out the trailer for Sleepless:
You can see that Sleepless is a highly stylized film with the glitz and glamour you’d associate with a Jamie Foxx cop flick. Foxx is clearly the protagonist when we learn early enough, in the trailer even, that he isn’t the corrupt cop we think of at the beginning. And the mobsters made a very bad decision when they tried to use his son as leverage for the drugs. This is a trade-off that ends up bad for more than a few nondescript hired guns out there as Foxx begins his criminal syndicate ladder climbing, dispatching anyone who stands in his way until he gets to the big boss.
Sleepless has a very solid cast with a number of notables joining Jamie Foxx on the big screen. There’s his partner Sean Cass played by Tip T.I. Harris, internal investigator Jennifer Bryant played by Michelle Monaghan and David Harbour plays her boss. Rounding out some of the criminal elements are Dermott Mulroney and Scoot McNairy as well. Gabrielle Union gets in on some of the action playing Foxx’s wife.
Baron bo Odar helmed the movie, in what was his third feature-length film at that point. He’d go on that same year to come out with Dark. The show had a wildly successful run on Netflix for three seasons and is one of the scarier and more bending thrillers the platform has ever put out there. In Sleepless, it was the first time he had worked with Jamie Foxx.
While Jamie Foxx carries the scenes he’s in and has a certain magnetism on screen that lends itself to a bravado and swagger that makes him seem nearly invincible, the film did fall a little short with critics. It’s sitting at just 25% on Rotten Tomatoes and 34 on Metacritic. The major complaint was that the story was simply too cliche and predictable to keep anyone guessing for any period of time. Sure, Foxx can fill up the screen, but after that the film appeared to be on autopilot for sections of the script. That being said, if you are looking for some easy action and a shoot’em up, then this one does fit that particular bill.
And Jamie Foxx has plenty coming down the pike in the next few years on the big screen. He’s set to reprise his role as Electro when he takes part in Spider-Man: No Way Home. There’s also They Cloned Tyrone and All-Star Weekend which are in pre-production. He’s also filming Day Shift and is going to take on the role of Mike Tyson in a bio-series about the boxer. So his dance card is filled up. Go check him out in Sleepless over on Netflix now.