Netflix Day Shift—Jamie Foxx and Your Time Wasted | Review

by Adam H. Douglas

Jamie Foxx at San Diego Comic Con | photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Day Shift on Netflix stars Jamie Foxx as Bud, a down-on-his-luck vampire hunter who patrols San Fernando Valley, searching for fangs he can sell for money. After being kicked out of the vampire killing union due to his rebellious streak and undisciplined method, he’s forced to sell his fangs for less money at pawn shops. He’s supposedly broke and works out of a storage locker, yet still manages to afford lots and lots of specialized guns and weapons.

Bud learns his daughter needs braces and tuition money, and his ex-wife is considering moving to Florida with her because she can’t afford to stay. Bud will lose his family if he doesn’t make ten grand in five days.

There’s more to the plot—but you already get the picture. Use your imagination to fill in the blanks about what might happen in the rest of the film, and you’d likely be right.

Jamie Foxx Day Shift vampire hunter

Jamie Foxx is solid in his performance, which is a bit of a feat, considering what he had to work with in the script. I have been trying to come up with some adjectives to describe his character, Bud, but have come up empty. So let’s just say the most notable aspect is his amusing name: Bud Jablonski, but he just as easily could have been named Mr. Generic Action Hero.

His ex-wife, played by Meagan Good, also has a name. But who cares? It could easily be Ms. Pretty, Dim And Exasperated By Hero. Their daughter, played by the adorable Zion Broadnax, who could have been named Sweet And Spunky. Everyone in this film has shallow characteristics instead of a character.

The Vampire-Killer’s union

Bud needs to get back into the union’s good graces so he can get access to better prices for his fangs. He asks an old colleague, played by none other than Snoop Dogg, to vouch for him. Snoop comes through, and Foxx is back on the job but is forced to have a nerdy union rep ride along and watch his every move. If he screws up, the rep will report it, and he’s out of the union for good.

The rep, in this case, is a desk jockey accountant named Seth and played by Dave Franco. Seth is supposed to be a naïve kid who thinks his inside-out knowledge of union regulations means he should get ahead in the company.

Franco’s performance is a mess. The trope for nerd characters in action films is a glasses-wearing coward who is charmingly earnest and incompetent but eventually will rise to the occasion with the hero’s help. But in Day Shift, Seth is portrayed with all the charm and usefulness of Scrappy-Doo.

When Seth urinates in his pants from fear—more than once—the director is obviously aiming for a funny moment that actually comes off as cringingly sad, both times.

If the rest of the production is anything to judge, I wouldn’t be surprised if Franco had little or no time to develop his part. However, Franco doesn’t appear to have any instinct whatsoever for this type of comedic role, making me question his casting in the first place.

What exactly is the point of Day Shift?

Everything about this film screams contractual obligation. Foxx recently starred in another forgettable Netflix film called Project Power. But at least that production had some originality to the script and an attempt at directorial style.

Unfortunately, there is almost no originality in Day Shift. The one minor plot twist involving a character who surprisingly becomes a vampire is handled so poorly that you end up wishing he had stayed dead.

As for the script, there are plot holes you could easily lob a stake through, and some scenes are so disjointed the audience will be lost in confusion.

Almost every shot of Day Shift looks uninspired, perfunctory. Apart from the paper-thin characters, the dialogue could have been lifted from any direct-to-video action film from the 80s. Taking a page from Ed Wood’s book of filmmaking, I wouldn’t be surprised if the soundtrack was entirely stock material.

Scott Adkins and Steve Howey as Day Shift competition

Halfway through the film, two Eastern-block vampire hunters (played by Scott Adkins and Steve Howey) show up for no discernable reason. They’re introduced as a kind of secondary antagonists to our hero—some competition for the big bucks. However, the duo ends up flexing their muscles while killing some vampires and are never seen again. Why are they even in this film? (Again, contractual obligation?)

A few action sequences seemingly had a modest budget but are executed with very little panache. Someone on the production side obviously has an affinity for contortionists, judging by the number of times they slink about the sets and twist themselves into bloodsucking knots.

The film barely tries to create a mythos through discussion about different kinds of vampires in this world, with specific skills and weaknesses. But hardly any of these elements are developed or explored. Some vampires turn out to be good guys, which Bud seems to accept without any explanation.

Most times, the filmmakers couldn’t even be bothered with coming up with pseudo-scientific dialogue to explain the basics of vampire culture. Hey Folks, there are good ones; just go with it.

The only bright spot of entertainment I found with this film was when Snoop Dogg was on screen. Yes, his presence in the film is a bit of stunt casting—a charming, flashy cameo. But at least he made me laugh and enjoy myself for a change of pace from the rest of the film. If someone were to compile the entire fifteen minutes Mr. Dogg was performing and cut out everything else; then you might have an entertaining film to watch.

At the end of the day, you’d be better off doing almost anything else with your time than watching Day Shift.

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