Jamie Foxx Enlivens Netflix’s Vampire Comedy Day Shift
Vampire entertainment is as eternal as vampires themselves, and from the ever-fertile dust of this genre springs Netflix’s Day ShiftJamie Foxx stars as Bud, an aging vamp hunter from the San Fernando Valley. He and his wife, Joceyln (Meagan Good), have split, and Jocelyn is now threatening to whisk the couple’s young daughter, Paige (Zion Broadnax), away to Florida in the hopes of giving her a more stable upbringing. Bud doesn’t want that to happen. So he promises he’ll come up with the cash to pay for both Paige’s private-school tuition and her braces. However, killable vampires are not common these days. What’s a clever but demoralized vampire hunter and devoted dad to do?
Try to get back into the vampire-hunter’s union, of course, a group that had kicked him out earlier for numerous infractions. Day Shift is the story of a guy who’s able to reclaim his past glory—and get some of those all-important dental-insurance benefits—but it isn’t easy: union honcho Ralph (Eric Lange) doesn’t want to let him back in, but one of Bud’s old pals, a union member in good standing, advocates for him. This would be Snoop Dogg wearing a cowboy hat. His appearance instantly enhances the film.
Day Shift has two secret weapons: Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg, Big John
Day Shift directed by J.J. Perry and written by Tyler Tice and Shay Hatten, is designed to be fast, gory and silly, and it’s all of those things. Perry follows the traditions of John Wick’s Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, is a martial arts expert and longtime stuntman now turned director, and he may not have the lightest touch. But is that really what you’re looking for? Day ShiftThree things make it unique: its irreverent disregard for logic and its playful spirit. OK, maybe that’s two things, but you get the drift. Audrey San Fernando, a wicked real estate developer (Karla Suza), is the villain in this story. She also happens to have a bloodline and hopes to restore vampire power. To that end she has created a sunblock which allows vampires to wander about during daylight.
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You’d expect the vampires to be your garden variety type. With pointy teeth and pale complexions, they can manipulate their limbs to reach physiologically unimaginable positions. They’re also superfast, so it’s difficult to kill them, though it can be done via special silver bullets and certain modes of decapitation. (Even Dave Franco’s Seth, the hapless union rep charged with tailing Bud on the job, eventually masters some of the necessary skills.) The action scenes are choppy but brisk, and there’s plenty of cartoon blood-spurting, de rigueur in a work such as this.
Day Shift’s other two attributes are Foxx and Snoop Dogg, even though the latter doesn’t get as much screentime as I, and probably you, would like. He’s the most laid-back vampire killer imaginable, which also makes him one of the coolest, and his timing, always behind the beat by a perfect two steps rather than just one, is a thing of elegance. Foxx, a great actor, can navigate through even the most complicated movie with no difficulty. Eager to be reinstated in his old union job, Bud swears, “I’m a changed man. I’ve cut out pork and cartoons, and minimal white women,” and Foxx’s sharp and sure delivery makes the line sing. Day Shift delivers everything it promises, which isn’t all that much. Foxx is a great example of how to go above and beyond what the law requires. It’s over before you realize it.
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