A hard-working, blue-collar dad who just wants to provide a good life for his quick-witted 8-year-old daughter. His mundane San Fernando Valley pool cleaning job is a front for his real source of income: hunting and killing vampires.
When you have Snoop Dogg and legendary star Jamie Foxx teaming up to hunt down vampires, of course I and many others would get beyond thrilled to witness it all. Even with all the previous vampire films that have run the mill through Hollywood, there’s still so much that can be explored for enjoyment purposes. Being a fan of both actors/entertainers, it seemed obvious you would walk away satisfied, and it wouldn’t be surprising if any, and everyone came to that conclusion. That may not be the case this time around. Don’t be mistaken though, because there are a ton of aspects that are pleasing when it comes to Day Shift, but in the end, there were too many missed opportunities for overall greatness.
The film Day Shift is directed by J. J. Perry, which counts as his directorial debut. His filmography credits all the work he performed working on stunts from the latest action movies that have hit Hollywood within the past thirty years. Recently they range from the Fast and the Furious franchise, John Wick, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, Daredevil, and so much more. With over one hundred and forty-nine credits, it’s clear that this man knows how to coordinate an action set piece. And giving credit where it’s due, the action and stunts in this film were absolutely perfect. To be honest, it’s some of the best fighting on screen that I’ve ever seen. If you’re only looking at the stunts themselves, and not the story or context that surrounds it, it’s top-notch entertainment competing with the best. Supporting actor Scott Adkins (Ip Man 4: The Finale) even adds his own martial arts to spice the action up and it’s the perfect flavor to make it all better. Hands down the action fighting the vampires was the most entertaining aspect of the film.
What comes in second place are the vampires themselves. These are some of the most agile and strongest vampires that have ever hit any screen. They definitely pose a worthy threat against all the protagonists in this film especially being as unpredictable as they are. If you’re not trained and constantly have your head on a swivel you’re going to die or get turned into a vampire dealing with them. In addition to that, the story goes a bit deeper with their background giving you multiple types of vampires that make it all more intriguing. Some are stronger than others, possess different abilities, and have different hunting patterns. The dialogue surrounding these vampires teases a deeper history to their lineage that could launch a new series of films if it wanted to. It will grab your attention to learn more about where they come from and what their overall goal is.
Yet that is teased, and not fully developed, unfortunately. While you’re wanting to know more about the vampires that aspect and plot point is barely delivered. Other than survival or world domination you’re not quite sure what the end goal is. What’s even more frustrating is the film asks you to sympathize with the villain more than our protagonists. You completely understand why the big bad is angry and seeking revenge, and I don’t blame them. I blame our main lead who we’re supposed to be rooting for, which makes part of this movie-going experience a bit weird.
As far as the main lead Bud Jablonski (Jamie Foxx), his character is mediocre at best. He has a somewhat failed marriage with his soon-to-be ex-wife (if not already) Jocelyn (Meagan Good), but there wasn’t a good enough explanation as to why they are split. They don’t hate each other and communicate decently when around each other, but what’s most important is it’s clear that they still love each other. So why the separation? The film never dives into that which makes their characters feel lost and unexplained. It’s an extremely weak plot point, just thrown into the story for unknown reasons. They have a wonderful little girl together, and I don’t see the reason why they weren’t a complete loving family at the beginning living under the same roof. On top of that, J. J. Perry is not the best at directing his talent. This is Jamie Foxx here that we’re talking about. I’m not expecting the next Ray (2004) performance that won him his Academy Award, but I still want to believe his role and this time it wasn’t there. His acting on top of other supporting roles in this film was not the best. Now I do expect this from Snoop Dogg, but not Jamie Foxx and that is upsetting. Seth (Dave Franco) had a few funny moments that may make you chuckle, but the writing of his character was another huge miss. There is no logical reason why the script wants him to team up with Jamie Foxx in the field. It isn’t the safest move for survival which is a huge plot hole in my opinion.
With that being said it was difficult to care about all the characters. Towards the end of the film, there were no stakes, and it felt like everyone was going to be ok when it was all over. It was as if the movie just wanted itself to end with no motivation to be memorable. There was so much wasted material, even when it comes to some of the camera movements during a car chase scene with useless drone shots. Also, why are ramps randomly placed in the road? To make the action more intense? The audience member isn’t supposed to see these devices, and it feels like an amateur designed those portions of the film. Again, the action is great for the most part, the vampires are fierce, and there are a few moments of comedy leaving more positives than negatives with a happy ending, but so much was still wasted potential leaving this film as passable but barely in my humble opinion.