We obtained one other one from Staff John Wick, everybody! Day Shift involves us from producer Chad Stahelski by the use of 87North Productions (right here credited as “87Eleven Leisure”, for no matter cause) and John Wick franchise screenwriter Shay Hatten. The script was co-written by Tyler Tice and directed by J.J. Perry, each of whom make their function debuts right here.
Exec Producer Jamie Foxx stars as Bud Jablonski, an LA bounty hunter who exterminates vampires to gather and promote their fangs. Hassle is, Bud is a infamous free cannon on the outs with the native vampire-hunting union (Due to course there’s a world forms for vampire hunters.), so he’s caught promoting fangs at low cost charges for shady people keen to tear him off at each alternative. (His principal level of contact is performed by Peter Stormare, which tells you just about every part you could know.)
Issues worsen when Bud’s ex-wife (Jocelyn, performed by Meagan Good) threatens to select up their daughter (Paige, performed by Zion Broadnax) and transfer to Florida except Bud can elevate ten grand in seven days to pay for Paige’s tuition and braces. Oh, and neither one among them is aware of something about Bud’s line of labor — they suppose he’s in pool upkeep — which doesn’t precisely assist issues.
Determined for more cash, Bud comes crawling again to the union to allow them to give him yet another likelihood and pay high greenback for harvested fangs. The catch is that for a probationary interval, Bud needs to be accompanied by a union rep: some hapless milquetoast from accounting, identify of Seth (Dave Franco). The logic goes that the union boss (Seeger, performed by Eric Lange) solely took Bud again in as a favor to the legendary vampire-hunting hotshot Huge John (motherfucking Snoop Dogg), so Bud obtained saddled with a bureaucrat who is aware of each union rule and regulation by rote. That means, if and when Bud slips up with even the tiniest infraction, Seth can report the break of protocol and Seeger can use that as an excuse to kick Bud out of the union for good. Once more.
Whereas all that’s occurring, we’ve obtained Audrey (Karla Souza) operating round. She’s an elder vampire shopping for up and creating actual property for her personal nefarious functions. Additionally, Audrey’s developed a type of sunscreen that enables vampires to stroll round in daylight for restricted intervals of time.
To repeat: Audrey has made it attainable for vampires to stroll amongst people in broad daylight. That looks like it ought to be a reasonably large fucking deal. The movie barely addresses it, and not one of the goddamn vampire hunters within the solid appear remotely involved. Likewise, there are imprecise mentions of some New World Order during which Audrey plans to unite all of the completely different vampire clans beneath her banner. None of that is ever clarified. All this high-stakes scheming is nearly instantly swept beneath the rug so Audrey can chase after Bud in some contrived penny-ante bullshit revenge arc.
On an identical be aware, we hear rumors about a fantastic and evil elder vampire named “El Jefe” who works as a legal kingpin in LA. The character performs completely no function within the plot. I may additionally point out Heather (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), who confirmed outstanding potential as a personality when she strikes in subsequent door to Bud. She in the end serves as little greater than a plot gadget. I get that the filmmakers are attempting to world-build and arrange prospects for any potential sequels, but it surely solely provides as much as a messy plot with too many threads left dangling.
Which brings me to a far greater drawback this film has: The shortage of a cogent theme.
As that is primarily a mystical “buddy cop” motion/comedy that takes an earthly workaday strategy to the fantastical, the apparent level of comparability is Males in Black. However a massively underappreciated a part of what made MiB work so properly is within the overarching theme of how small and ignorant we’re within the grand scheme of issues. By comparability, Day Shift doesn’t have a single coherent theme that I might discover, and I used to be trying laborious. As the entire film is affected by half-baked subplots that don’t mesh collectively and don’t resolve into something worthwhile, the entire film is loaded with disparate undercooked themes that by no means grow to be something coherent.
It’s particularly disappointing, as vampires have traditionally been linked with any variety of evergreen themes. They’re a ready-made allegory for immortality, sexuality, mankind’s primal nature, habit, overconsumption, corruption, and so forth and so forth et goddamn cetera. And given the movie’s L.A. setting, the vampires might’ve simply been used to inform a narrative about greed or everlasting youth and wonder. However no, there’s not a whiff of something like that, or a lot of the rest. What the hell?
Fortunately, the film is at the least straightforward to observe. All we actually must know is that Bud is searching down vampires to lift cash so his household stays in LA. Good and easy. It actually helps that between the opening motion sequence and Seth’s pedantic exposition dumps, the filmmakers don’t have any drawback getting the viewers up to the mark on how vampires work on this universe with out slowing down the pacing an excessive amount of.
Talking of which, I’m sorry to say that Dave Franco is by far the weakest hyperlink within the solid. He’s just too fairly to play a nebbish weakling, and he doesn’t have wherever close to the appearing vary to make it work. Although he does at the least have enough comedic chops to carry his personal towards Jamie Foxx, so there’s that. It truly is a rattling disgrace, as a result of the central Bud/Seth relationship seems nice on paper. If solely Seth had been given to an actor with the vary to play the character’s full improvement arc (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, maybe?), it might’ve been good.
As it’s, the remainder of the solid is stable. Jamie Foxx has greater than sufficient charisma to hold a movie like this, and he’s lengthy since confirmed his chops in each motion and comedy. Meagan Good and Zion Broadnax each flip in spirited performances, and it actually helps that neither of them are enjoying passive ladies who’re fully helpless. Casting Snoop Dogg to play the older grizzled veteran was a stroke of impressed genius. Karla Souza performs a compelling villain who’s deliciously enjoyable to hate. Natasha Liu Bordizzo is underutilized, however she’s greater than charming sufficient to go away an impression. Kudos are additionally as a result of Steve Howey and Scott Adkins — they solely present up for one motion scene, however goddamn.
This brings me to the only most essential redeeming issue of the entire film: These motion scenes are fucking sick. The filmmakers are diabolically artistic in using the vampire conceit, most particularly in intelligent results gags and strikes that will be anatomically inconceivable for any human. The shootouts are nice enjoyable, the fistfights are delightfully messy, and the automobile chase is augmented by jaw-dropping drone images. The stunts are dazzling, the enhancing is tight, the camerawork and lighting are all on level, the twists and visible gags are properly stunning, and the choreography is staggering all through. That is simply the very best motion I’ve ever seen on a Netflix authentic, bar none, and also you’d rattling properly higher imagine I’m together with The Gray Man in that evaluation.
As with so many Netflix originals, Day Shift leaves me with that irritating feeling that it ought to’ve been higher than it in the end was. Prefer it was so near authentic greatness, however got here up frustratingly brief. On this case, the massive drawback is that there’s no overarching theme to provide the movie any type of brains or coronary heart, and one half of the central “buddy comedy” dynamic — specifically Dave Franco — was miscast.
However however, Jamie Foxx and the remainder of the solid greater than make up for Franco’s shortcomings, and I can’t presumably emphasize sufficient that the motion scenes on this film are unbelievable. Whereas it’s disappointing that the stakes aren’t city-wide or world in nature, the deeply private stakes that we get are sufficient to energy a easy motion film plot.
General, I had nice enjoyable watching this one regardless of its quite a few flaws. I’d even go as far as to say that if Netflix provides The Gray Man a megafranchise and leaves Day Shift and not using a sequel, they’re betting on the fallacious goddamn horse. That is undoubtedly one value trying out.