Jamie Foxx is all bark, but this vampire action comedy is no bite.
“Day Shift” is a made-for-Netflix vampire action comedy that’s trying to cash in on the success of “Zombieland,” which knew how to survive a zombie apocalypse. This movie wants to do something with LA, vampires, and even such a fresh and versatile lead like Jamie Foxx, but it should have done something more with it. It’s more of a gimmick to channel on many other action comedies of its kind. There’s the tough black guy and the cowardly white nerd, a custody battle, and the evil Mexican woman.
Foxx is the vampire hunter Bud Jablonski, who poses as a pool guy for the sake of his ex-wife Jocelyn (Meagan Good) and daughter Paige (Zion Broadnax). He’s only given the day shift, because of his recent track record of reckless behaviors, but he’s very good at killing them in the day time, even if they act like they’re possessed by the girl in “The Exorcist” with how they twist and bend themselves.
Foxx knows how to have the right attitude for serious and comic appeal, as demonstrated in “Horrible Bosses” and “Baby Driver,” but he’s saddled with a story that requires him to be accompanied by a neurotic pacifist named Seth (Dave Franco). His running gag has his peeing himself, every time he’s caught during a vampire attack, and Bud often has to be mean to him. This is the tough black guy and cowardly white nerd story that gets really old and exhausting, and kind of racist.
The evil Mexican woman is Audrey San Fernando (Karla Souza), who poses as a real estate agent, but is actually a criminal mastermind, who wants revenge on Bud. She always has to smile like an evil woman, and act like an evil woman. There’s no truth in this woman, compared to the Katie del Castillo villain in “Bad Boys for Life.”
The only vampires I find interesting is how they can put sunscreen on that lasts for 15-20 minutes, while Bud’s new neighbor named Heather (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) can light her finger on fire to light her cigarette. And BTW, I knew she was a vampire, since they meet outside in the dark, and whenever there’s a new young woman, there’s bound to be trouble. But at least, she’s on his side.
Then, we get Snoop Dogg as bud’s mentor Big John Elliott. In retrospect, he should have been the sidekick, instead of Franco, because of how he keeps his cool. But then again, he’s Snoop Dogg, so he knows how to be cool.
I met Franco, and I always knew he was a fine talent with a consistency and tone, but he’s wasted in “Day Shift,” because of the wimpy and dimwitted jokes that insults him. He’s better than succumbing to this. Foxx is the one who knows how to entertain us. He seems to be enjoying himself killing the vampires in LA, while trying to keep his vulnerabilities in check. But he would have been better in another movie with another screenplay.
The movie is the directorial debut of J.J. Perry, who is a stunt man and coordinator from such films as “John Wick,” “Django Unchained,” and “Blade.” He’s able to make himself an action film that wants to fight bloody and uses the right leading man. But if he wants to take on directing, he needs the right script, the right versatility, and the right attitude. “Day Shift” has potential, but it’s a missed opportunity, because of the formulas.
Streaming on Netflix