Day Shift, written by Tyler Tice and Shay Hatten and directed by J.J. Perry, is about Bud (Jamie Foxx), a pretend pool cleaner that hunts vampires for profit. Though slow at the start, the tedium vanishes as the stakes ratchet up. Exciting choreography with a “how’d they do that” feel; Day Shift delivers smooth action and comedy thanks to the skillful Jamie Foxx’s comedic acting.
Even with vampires, the mundane grind of capitalism is unavoidable. Bud struggles to provide for his daughter. Thrown out of the union—yes, there is a union for vampire hunters—Bud sells the prized fangs he collects off his targets to Troy (Peter Stormare), a pawn shop owner. Because of the unpredictability of his job, Bud often arrives late to pick up his daughter, Paige (Zion Broadnax). At her wit’s end due to finances, his wife, though separated, Jocelyn (Meagan Good), contemplates moving with their daughter to Flordia. Bud bargains for Jocelyn to give him a few days to come up with around 10k needed for Paige’s tuition and braces.
To make that money, he needs the union, so he enlists the help of Big John (Snoop Dogg). After chatting with the union head, Ralph Seeger (Eric Lange), Ralph grudgingly allows Bud back in, but under the condition that a union representative shadows him on the job. Also, Ralph does not allow Bud to work the lucrative night shift, relegating him to the day shift. Enter union desk man Seth (Dave Franco), who wants to say no but wants rival Carol’s seat at work more. And that’s what Ralph offers Seth if he compiles a list of Bud’s violations as they hunt vampires.
Day Shift‘s Opening Pacing Slow
Despite the action-filled opening, Day Shift slogs through the first thirty minutes. There are comedic moments, thanks to Jamie Foxx’s delivery. But this section sets up the people Bud loves and works hard for. Although Day Shift needed a more engaging setup, this is not the worst. It feels like the first fifty pages of a Stephen King novel where you are drowning in descriptions that do not matter. At least the introduction in Day Shift matters.
Hit & Miss Dialogue Mediocre But Comedic Delivery
The dialogue is not the best however, the cast deliver it with flair—the movie borders on camp with exaggerated villains to match the conversations. Still, the cast shines, from Jamie Foxx to Snoop Dogg to the actors who played Mike and Diran Nazarian, played by Steve Howey and Scott Adkins, respectively. Dave Franco’s character misses more than delivers, but I’m not a fan of piss jokes. Sure, they were funny…when I was a child. But scenes with others make his character bearable.
Superb Variety of Fight Sequences
The action choreography is sick. There are gunfights, swordfights, and hand-to-hand combat with contortionist vampires. Round of applause to the stunt coordinators because the fights look amazing and left me going “damn.” Overall, the fight sequences are the best I have seen in a while. However, it is a shame I did not see any promotions for this film. Netflix and social media inundated me with advertisements for The Gray Man, a film that makes mediocre movies look good.
As you watch, you recall moments from other films; like True Lies, as Jocelyn and Bud argue while captive, and The Lost Boys’ explicit reference at the end. I went into Day Shift wondering if I could make it through, but by the end, I laughed and smiled despite not all the parts working and the obvious foreshadowing with the plated silver wire. Yes, The Gray Man has pretty people to look at, but if you want something with a tad more substance, action that looks real rather than tired, with comedic beats that hit the mark better, check out Day Shift.