Day Shift Cast: Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Snoop Dogg
Streaming Platform: Netflix
Day Shift Stars: 3/5
A sunny day in San Fernando valley has been captured in various films and yet, nothing will prepare you for where Jamie Foxx‘s Day shift is headed with its opening shot. The valley is a lot different but also the same in many ways and it’s amazing how the film finds its parallels to the real version of it. For example, the jobs of San Fernando valley stay the same and hence who says there can’t be a hotshot vampire running a real estate business? As for the working class folks, it’s Foxx’s Budd Jablonski who is a vampire hunter moonlighting as a pool cleaner.
Day Shift has been directed by J.J. Perry, who has been a well-known stunt performer and coordinator and hence his intent to make this an all-out action journey while also hanging onto some humour and drama is a great move. The director takes no time to establish that he’s here to show us the slaying adventures of Bud and it begins from the get-go as the opening scene itself shows Foxx’s Jablonski entering a house and running into an undead person and not just a regular one but an old one at that. It’s this very scene that sets the tone of the film as we prepare ourselves for more gory action.
In Day Shift, we also meet the other side of Bud (Jamie Foxx), who is a father trying his best to rise above his blue-collar existence and provide for his young daughter who is in need of expensive dental work and school tuition. A cash-strapped Jablonski is left with no choice but to join back the Union that once ousted him for his hunting ways and make those USD 10,000 in a week’s time. With his friend Big John’s (Snoop Dogg) help, Bud does manage to get his way back into the Union and while he’s stuffed into a day shift, things get even more complicated after he gets an uptight sidekick in Seth (Dave Franco) as his Union representative who isn’t thrilled about the idea of going on the field.
Vampire hunting is something that has been explored across Film and TV in Hollywood and while there may not be any new ways that we learn about hunting them, much of the film’s focus does remain on the uniquely designed action sequences as Perry hires Cirque du Soleil contortionists to be the most acrobatic version of vampires you have ever seen. The vampires in the film also have their own set of allegiances and while some are loyal to humans, there are others that Bud has to go on a slaying adventure. As the action sequences take the main foray, there are times when they feel unrelated or necessary for the film and those are the most worrisome bits. Not to mention how little developmental time the film dedicates in exploring its villain, Audrey (Karla Souza).
As for the breezy part of the film, it’s the phase where Franco’s Seth and Foxx’s Jablonski are teamed together that we get the feels of a full-on buddy comedy. These bits work in favour of the film as the light-hearted laughs are much-needed amid all the boisterous action that keeps coming at us without as much of a break. The thing that’s missing in Day Shift if one does decide to use their brains to enjoy this horror comedy and ask questions, it’s that the film has very few answers to offer when it comes to the why and hows of the plot. The second half gets a portion where we learn about Audrey’s motives but it’s too late by then.
In terms of the performances, Jamie Foxx is one actor who can truly turn around a mediocre script and make it something worthwhile. The actor does so with Day Shift as he makes us want to invest in Bud’s journey. As Jablonski, the actor has promising action as well as the perfect charm to deliver those quick retorts with natural ease. Matching his energy to form a surprising rapport with him is also Dave Franco who gives Seth who gets some of the film’s most hilarious scenes including one where he fiercely defends the Twilight sequels. Add to the mix, the extra cool quotient brought by Snoop Dogg who wears a cowboy hat and delivers some lines full of wisdom and you will realise how important an element casting is for this film.
Day Shift is the kind of film that you can sit back and enjoy if you decide to take it not too seriously. Consider it as a vampire comedy with over-the-top action and it’s a two-hour ride not half as bad. It’s the kind of film that has the potential to become a franchise given that these characters will stay in your head for a while.