"Day Shift" stars Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Meagan Good, Karla Souza, Steve Howey, Scott Adkins, and Snoop Dogg. Released on Netflix on August 12, 2022, the film is about a man hunting vampires in the San Fernando Valley.
The film featured the directorial debut of J.J. Perry, a martial artist and stuntman. Many jobs in the world require skill and knowledge to get specific tasks done with ease. This particular job requires them to survive a vampire army. Netflix is churning out more content for audiences to watch this month before summer reaches its final stages, mainly its films. Out of these movies that the streaming service is releasing, this one got me interested the most. It's got vampires, R-rated violence, and even Snoop Dogg. What more could you ask for in a movie about humans battling blood-sucking monsters? More importantly, it's got Chad Stahelski involved as its producer, who's known for bringing "John Wick" to life with David Leitch. So there's no doubt that I was expecting something fun and juicy out of this latest addition to the vampire genre. With that in mind, let's bust out our fangs and see if this blood is good enough for us to drink.
The story follows Bud Jablonski (Foxx), a man who works as a pool cleaner. However, his regular job is a cover-up for his real job. Bud is secretly a vampire hunter who makes a living killing vampires and selling their fangs for cash. He needs the money to pay for his daughter's private school fees before his ex-wife Joceyln (Good) moves to Florida with her. To get some extra cash, Bud will have to rejoin the vampire hunting union that kicked him out for disobeying its protocols. Unfortunately, he only has to work the day shift and must be supervised by the union rep Seth (Franco). With the help of his friend John Elliot (Dogg), Bud has to survive the union's new conditions while attempting to save the world from a female vampire named Audrey (Souza), who seeks to recreate the "god worship" hierarchy.
As many people stated, the film belongs in a category popularized by "John Wick", in which someone works for a secret organization and kills people in a badass fashion. However, instead of beating up regular criminals and assassins, "Day Shift" has Jamie Foxx battling vicious vampires that are surprisingly flexible with their bodies. I didn't realize those bloodsuckers take up yoga during their spare time. While that may be the case, it usually comes down to the execution of its concept and entertainment values. With actors like Foxx and Franco and a slick action-packed style, this seemed like a solid win for Netflix regarding the action genre. Sadly, that's not the case.
The movie features a basic saving-the-world plot that has Bud rejoining the union to slay a bunch of vampires while Seth monitors his behavior. Amid the bloody chaos, the story also involves him attempting to earn enough money to keep his family in California. The only problem with that is that is all it can offer. While there are a couple of moments that make this action-comedy watchable, the movie is disposable for its straightforward narrative and lack of interesting characters. There's also the film's screenplay, which had some intriguing ideas for the vampires but is watered down by its lackluster dialogue and sequences that didn't make sense regarding its rules. J. J. Perry may have been a pro at showcasing stunts on screen, but his direction for the uninspired plot proves that he may have a long way to go to get into the filmmaking league.
Despite their characters' formulaic personalities, the main cast did their best to elevate the movie's goofy and violent tone. Luckily for me, their best was nearly good enough to overshadow their flaws. Jamie Foxx still makes for a watchable action star regarding his role as Bud. He's enjoyable as a butt-kicking vampire slayer who takes no prisoners and as a loving and charismatic father to her daughter. It's also nice to see Dave Franco back on screen again, who I haven't seen since the other Netflix action film, "6 Underground". His performance as Seth was far from his best, but he makes a fine effort to express his charisma amid the vampire action. Then there's Snoop Dogg, who's also acceptable in the movie, even though he still makes people question why he's still acting in movies. Unfortunately, despite the actors on screen, the chemistry between them, mainly Bud and Seth, lacked the hilarity and craziness that the film resembles regarding its tone. It's got a few scenes that got me chuckling a bit, but everything else felt almost as lifeless as the vampires.
But do you know what's not lifeless? The action sequences. If you've seen any of the previous action films from Chad Stahelski, you'll know how "Day Shift" handles the fight scenes. They're portrayed in a swift and kinetic manner, with the cinematography sticking close to the R-rated violence and the choreography matching the film's absurdity. Unsurprisingly, they're fun to watch, even if they don't offer much to make the experience memorable. In fact, they're pretty much the only scenes that make the movie tolerable as a Friday night treat.
Overall, "Day Shift" is an uninspired and disposable vampire action-comedy despite some slick and goofy action. While the cast is admirable, they're sadly not enough to boost the chemistry and interest needed to inject some fun and energy into its familiar concept. From its genre cliches to its mundane humor, the film is a blood-sucking disappointment that deserved the Netflix treatment. It's watchable for those wanting a simplistic action film featuring vampires, but it's also something that should've stayed in the coffin for everyone else.