Sleepless review: A buzzing cast can't rescue this low-rent Die Hard-alike

Steve Hogarty
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Universally recognised as the greatest film about clambering around inside air vents ever made, Die Hard has inspired a long list of distinguished imitators, each of them about crawling around inside different kinds of building.

Among them was 2011 French action film Nuit Blanche, about a bent cop who gets tangled up in a drug deal gone wrong and ends up running all over a casino for hours trying to put things right, shoot bad guys and rescue his son.

Sleepless is based on that film, but stars Jamie Foxx as the casino-traversing, drug-lord chasing policeman, with co-star Michelle Monaghan playing the role of the no-nonsense internal affairs woman constantly on his dirty tail.

Although Sleepless features a man scurrying around the innards of a building like a big horrible ferret, what we’ve got here is a far cry from Die Hard. Things are more Mr Bean than John McClane – the big sack of cocaine central to the plot frequently goes missing in a variety of slapstick ways, for example – but things are never silly enough to be fun.

There’s a decent cast bouncing around too, yet no one stands out, choosing instead to mumble their way through a damp script. Even the fight-scenes, while punchy, fail to ignite the screen.

Had Sleepless been a little more serious, or a little more schlocky, it would have been memorable. As it is, it’s doomed to become the answer to a question in a very hypothetical and wide-ranging Jamie Foxx round of a pub quiz.

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