Day Shift Synopsis: A hardworking dad (Jamie Foxx) out to provide for his daughter uses a tedious pool-cleaning job as a front for his real gig: hunting and killing vampires.
A down-on-his-luck hitman and his evergreen partner stumble upon a dastardly plan for vampire domination in Day Shift. The Jamie Foxx-led actioner marks another attempt at blockbuster filmmaking for Netflix. So far, most would scoffingly label the streamer’s high-profile releases as lackluster “mockbusters.” Titles like The Gray Man and The Adam Project may feature luxurious movie stars and grandiose spectacle, but neither film draws an engaging experience from their haphazard fundamentals.
Day Shift attempts to define its distinct place in vampire lore as an inventive clash between blood-sucking creatures and our modern worldview. Unfortunately, the final product represents a charmless continuation of Netflix’s mockbuster trend.
A hard-R vampire crusade embedded in the lively allure of LA possesses an instant appeal. If only the film realized what to do with its strengths. Without a sharp vision, Day Shift boasts closer resemblance to cheesy police procedurals than an imaginative horror exercise. The adherence that screenwriters Shay Hatten and Tyler Tice possess to cliched narrative devices stall any interest in a film that’s constantly stuck on autopilot. There’s no personality on display here, which only compounds the film’s flimsy attempts at viable commentary (viewing the vampire antagonist as a gentrifying elitist is humorous yet rarely explored with much care).
The lack of personable material gives the actors no chance to shine. Like another ill-fated Netflix original, Project Power, Jaime Foxx receives little to do as the everyman protagonist Bud. The actor’s undeniable charisma enriches some of the film’s rudimentary moments, but it’s a letdown seeing Foxx mug his way through a role without captivating characteristics. Dave Franco is equally earnest yet forgettable as Bud’s by-the-book partner who bumbles through his first day of action. It also says something when not even Snoop Dogg toating a heavy machine gun can bring some light-hearted amusement.
Day Shift is as middling as it gets – except for one promising standout. Stunt coordinator-turned-director J.J. Perry brings kid-in-the-candy-store energy with his series of well-coordinated action numbers. From backbreaking kick-flips to smooth bullet-time gunplay, Perry utilizes every opportunity to redress familiar action movie moments into electrifying clashes. The vibrancy of the action is almost good enough to forgive the film’s tired use of pop confectionary songs and over-lit imagery.
Netflix users could do worse than Day Shift – it’s just unfortunate that the final product should be so much better. It’s an occasionally compelling yet largely mindless exercise destined to fade from viewers’ memories.
Day Shift is now available on Netflix.
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