‘Day Shift’ review: Jamie Foxx hunts vampires in Netflix’s monotonous action flick
They have this thing in the movies called the Ratchet Pull, and you’ve seen it dozens and dozens of times. Basically, cables and harnesses, wires and winches, etc., are rigged to make a character appear to be flying through the air in an action sequence, whether it’s a superhero soaring through the skies, an action star jumping off a motorcycle, or a villain getting punched or kicked so hard he’s thrown into a wall or through a window. That sort of thing.
In the banal, throwaway Netflix vampire action flick “Day Shift,” Jamie Foxx and his friends (and stunt doubles) pull off one Ratchet Pull stunt after another, fight scene after fight scene. Some of these stunts are so violent and comical that you can practically see the wires; at one point, Foxx’s Bud Jablonski actually exclaims, “That m————threw me down the stairs?”
Yes, because the waterfalls.
“Day Shift” also includes a plethora of horrific stabbings, stomping, gunfights and beheadings, done in a kind of “From Dusk Till Dawn” style. The action is admittedly well choreographed, as debut feature director JJ Perry has a long and impressive resume as a stunt coordinator and certainly knows the territory. The problem is that we’re stuck with a half-baked storyline that plays like a high-level elevator pitch: Buddy Cop Movie, But With Vampires. Ho ho hm.
“Day Shift” wastes no time in delivering the Big Reveal that Foxx’s Bud Jablonski isn’t exactly an underdog middle-aged pool man working in Los Angeles; he’s actually a veteran vampire hunter. Two minutes into the movie, Bud has walked into a house where he meets a seemingly benign and helpless old lady, who is actually a vampire, and let’s just say it takes time for Bud to finally get this creature out of his misery.
Now for the obligatory scenes in which we learn that Bud is estranged (but of course still in love) with the lovely and stunning Jocelyn (Meagan Good), who just couldn’t stand Bud’s absent-father tendencies regarding their precocious daughter Paige. ( Sion Broadnax). Even now, when Bud babysits Paige for a few hours, he lets her eat the wrong kinds of food, and of course he delays bringing her home. Oh that bud!
Jocelyn tells Bud that if he can’t find $5,000 to pay for Paige’s private school, and another $5,000 to cover the cost of the devices she needs, she’s going to take Paige and move to Florida, where the girl lives. Jocelyn’s mother. Bud says just give me a week and I’ll find the money. (It should be noted that Jocelyn has absolutely no idea that Bud is a vampire hunter. She thinks he’s just some unfortunate pool man and doesn’t wonder how he’s going to find 10,000,000 in a week .)
Bud worked as a freelance vampire hunter because he was kicked out of the “union” for numerous violations, but he needs some quick cash and some good leads (vampire teeth are worth a lot of money), so he enlists his old pal Big John Elliott (Snoop Dogg) to get him back with the Office of International Vampire Control Operations. They allow Bud to return on a trial basis, with one caveat: he must bring along a partner, nerdy bureaucrat and vampire expert Seth (Dave Franco), who will make sure Bud plays him by the book as stalks the bloodsucker. population of the San Fernando Valley. Now we have the typical buddy cop stuff, with Bud telling geeky Seth to stay away, and Seth reacting to violent encounters by peeing his pants (not once, but twice) and throwing up, and n isn’t it’s always hilarious.
To complicate matters for Bud, the emergence of scowling villainess Audrey (Karla Souza), a ruthless and ambitious vampire (with a day job as a real estate agent) who has developed a type of sunscreen that will vampires to come out into the light of day. “We already have the night, but my product will allow us to seize the day!” claims Audrey. Oooh, you should contact Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos or the “Shark Tank” gang; they might want to support such a revolutionary new product.
We learn that vampires once ruled the valley as gods worshiped by mere mortals, and Audrey has big plans to bring the vampires back to their rightful place. But first she has to take down Bud Jablonski because it’s personal, because that old lady Bud killed in the opening act was actually Audrey’s daughter. Now Audrey will take on Bud’s daughter for revenge – or will Bud win the day and make enough money to make sure Paige can go back to school with braces on her teeth?
You’re Not Gonna Ratchet Pull The End Of Me!