In action-comedy-horror, Day Shift, Bud Jablonski is a vampire hunter, who makes a living killing the undead, while masquerading as a pool cleaner. Operating in California, Jablonski locates vamp nests, bumps off the toothy inhabitants, and collects their teeth to sell to a pawn broker.
Although he is good at his job, Jablonski has a pressing problem which exists outside of his career. His ex-wife is planning on moving their daughter, Paige, to Florida, where she hopes her daughter’s school fees and other associated costs won’t be so expensive.
But Jablonski does not want his ex and their daughter to relocate, so asks for a little time to come up with some money. He believes that if he can acquire the funds to pay for Paige’s expenses, then his family will have no need to move away.
Setting to work on his plan, he only has a few days to come up with the cash – a challenge in itself. But a new little wrinkle is on the horizon, in the form of a vengeful vampire who has her sights set on Jablonski.
Directed by J.J. Perry and starring Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Snoop Dogg, and Karla Souza, Day Shift is available to stream on Netflix from today. The film is an action-packed romp, which plays like a cross between Blade (1998) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), although sadly it’s not quite as strong as either.
That’s not to say this movie is a dud though, because it’s not. Day Shift just aims a little too high, and doesn’t quite reach its target.
So, it’s more of a watchable, mid-tier kind of movie, rather than a must-see, A-grade flick. It’s fine in places, but it falls short here and there.
Where Day Shift succeeds is in the action department. This film has plenty of good fight sequences, which are all well-choreographed.
There does seem to be a bizarre focus on vampire contortionism during the fight scenes, with the undead seemingly able to twist and turn like a sideshow attraction, but I presume this is all part of the spectacle. Either way, if you’re an action fan and you’re after a movie in which fists are flung and shotguns are unloaded with careless abandon, then this film certainly caters for you.
Day Shift also has it where it counts in the leading man department too. Jamie Foxx fits the role of vampire hunter/doting father rather well, and he brings both authority and charm to the part of Jablonski.
Even during parts of the movie I was less interested in, I always found Foxx enjoyable to watch. He is the stand out star of Day Shift and for me, he elevates the material.
Without him, I’d be far less invested in the picture. With him, the film gets a little more kudos.
But Foxx can’t save Day Shift from its biggest problem, which is its attempts at comedy. In short: I don’t believe this movie is particularly funny and I don’t think any of the gags really land.
I can totally see what the film is aiming for, and I see the attempts at humour, but they just fall short. The jokes aren’t strong enough, and because this is something which is quite apparent early on, the whole movie feels as if it is stuck in the wrong groove.
Dave Franco is drafted in as the comedic foil to Foxx, but instead of being funny, he largely comes across as being irritating. His gags about peeing and pooping, as well as his general character development, don’t quite work in the way they should, and this is a pity.
I don’t believe it is Franco’s fault, I just feel the writing is off. But then, I feel the whole tone of the movie is a little off too.
The best way I can describe Day Shift is to ask you to imagine the movie is like a good-looking, but slightly faulty pocket watch. Open up the back, and you can see it is filled with intricate cogs and wheels, they’re all turning, and from a distance it looks as if everything is working as it should.
But up close, it becomes clear that despite all the moving parts, the watch isn’t showing the correct time, and there is a manufacturing fault which can’t be fixed. So, the watch works, but it is always going to move out of sync.
However, if you don’t mind something that toks, when it should tick, you may like this movie a little more than I did. And if you do like it a little more than me, it should provide just enough entertainment.
Ultimately, Day Shift didn’t quite tickle my pickle, but that’s not to say it won’t work for other audiences. The sets, the effects, the soundtrack, Snoop Dogg, and the aforementioned turn from Jamie Foxx are all worth a watch, so I’ll simply say it’s OK… and leave it at that.