Day Shift, a Netflix original that premiered on the streaming service on August 12th, is an action-packed, stunt-tastic, hilarious vampire buddy comedy that is chock full of faces you know, and blessed with a killer soundtrack. J.J. Perry, stuntman turned stunt coordinator turned assistant director, makes his directorial debut with this action-filled vampire gore-fest – and every facet of his background is on display through the incredible fight choreography and stunt work that makes up the bulk of Day Shift. Does the movie have plot holes? Yes. Does it break most of the rules it establishes for how to kill a vampire? Yes. Does the movie set up plot points that seem important but ultimately go nowhere? Yes. Did I care by the end? NOPE!
You should know that I grew up in the 80s and 90s when Jamie Foxx launched his comedic stylings on In Living Color and Snoop Dogg debuted his Doggystyle with the incomparable Dr. Dre. My first vampire movie was The Lost Boys, which Day Shift pays homage to multiple times – including the last line of the movie which is a callback to the famous Lost Boys line “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach…All the damn vampires.” I’m also a fan of the WWE, so all of the high-flying, acrobatic moves and over-the-top violence of the fight scenes had me cheering “this is awe-some” from my couch.
Day Shift begins with a bang, as Bud Jablonski (JamieFoxx) works his cover job as a pool cleaner while waiting for his moment to go into a nondescript suburban home and kill some vamps. From the very first fight, the vampires are revealed to be contortionists, adept at Tae Kwon Do, that come back from anything but silver and wood to the heart and/or decapitation. Once Bud kills the vamps and pockets their teeth to sell on the vampire teeth market, he picks up his daughter Paige (a bit late as you just never know how long a vampire fight is going to take) and drops her at home with his soon-to-be-ex wife Jocelyn, played by Megan Good (Shazam!). Jocelyn tells him she’s taking their daughter to live with her mother in Florida unless he can come up with the money for private school tuition AND braces by Monday. Cue accelerated vampire killing agenda.
The Vampire Hunters in Day Shift have unionized
As Bud has fun afoul of the union, he cannot sell the teeth he procures on his hunts for a decent price. Type of vampire and age of vampire determine market value – which is reduced at the pawn shop where he’s forced to peddle his wares. Because of the time crunch, he calls in a favor to Big John (Snoop Dogg) to get him back into the union where there are perks like selling teeth at full value and health insurance. Since he has so many violations in his file, the supervisor (Ralph played by Eric Lange) sidles him with a union representative – Seth (Dave Franco) a desk man who is not suited for field work, but is also desperate for a promotion. This is the crazy veteran cop/terrified newbie cop portion of the movie. As added punishment, Bud is barred from the night shift where all the real action is and relegated to the day shift – and there’s your movie title.
There is a more in depth secondary plot where a female Uber vampire (that is the most powerful of the four types) Audrey San Fernando played by the stunning Karla Souza (How to Get Away With Murder) is buying up all the properties in the San Fernando valley and populating them with vampires supplied with super strength sunscreen that allows them to survive in sunlight for up to 20 minutes. Her goal is to make vampires unstoppable, with her as the all-powerful vampire at the top of the mountain. Audrey’s strategy leads to the BEST fight scene where Bud and Seth team up with the Nazarian brothers (martial arts wizard Scott Adkins and Steve Howey from Shameless) to take out a HUGE vampire nest in the middle of the suburbs. When Bud angers Audrey, things get really crazy as she goes about exacting her revenge.
I’ve seen mixed reviews of Day Shift, which I can understand given all the plot points introduced and then ignored. But the movie is so much fun that I JUST DON’T CARE! The fight choreography is insane, the gore factor makes me wonder what they spent on blood alone, there is one hell of a car chase, and the movie is FUNNY – no subject is safe from being the butt of a joke. Despite what some reviewers have said, I thinking Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco have GREAT chemistry, and of course Snoop Dogg takes center in every scene he has. If you’re looking for scary vampires, this ain’t it. If you’re looking for brooding vampires (I’m looking at you, sparkly Edward Cullen), this ain’t it. If you’re looking for Lethal Weapon meets From Dusk Till Dawn meets The Lost Boys – Day Shift has got you covered…in blood.
Do you think Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco have the chemistry to pull off the comedy in Day Shift? Let me know in the comments!