Movie Review: Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg & Dave Franco in Vampire-Hunter Rage “Day Shift”

Movie Review: Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg & Dave Franco in Vampire-Hunter Rage “Day Shift”

The vampire genre has endured countless humiliations over the decades – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter or Dracula 2000, anyone? – so it will surely emerge largely intact after being abused courtesy of Day Shift. The premise isn’t bad at all, with a leading vampire trying to go straight for the sake of his wife and young daughter, and the presence of Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg in lead roles adds some attraction, entertainment and cache. But the script never remotely does the occasion justice, leading to a mess that, at almost two hours, is also half an hour too long to be good for yourself or anyone else.

Movie Review Jamie Foxx Snoop Dogg Dave Franco in

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The setting – the dregs of the San Fernando Valley – seems little less than a prime vampire estate compared to Transylvania, but that’s where a reformed vampire by the improbable name of Bud Jablonski (Foxx) ekes out a living cleaning swimming pools. Seeing no improvement in her husband’s financial future, his wife Jocelyn (Meagan Good) announces her intention to move to Florida with their young daughter in tow unless Bud returns within days with real money ($7,000 is hers sum) up.

Bud doesn’t even have half of it. Almost immediately, however, the presence of zombies/undead/vampires/what-have-you makes itself felt, and in a most sophisticated way, Bud sees this as a secret and, he believes, temporary return to his old vampiric ways the only way to keep his family intact.

A requirement of the Cockamamie script is that Bud is always accompanied by a minder, Seth (Dave Franco), a completely unflattering and mostly unfunny oaf who constantly apologizes for his thorough stupidity. While the screenwriters seem to just make stuff up while going on without rewriting, the film flips in one direction and shortly thereafter flops in another, gestures that seem far more designed to keep wild and often incomprehensible action on screen, than to make any dramatic sense. A few more passes to the script could only have been helpful.

A vampiric eminence eventually emerges in the form of Audrey (Karla Souza), leading to action that grows increasingly frenetic and ultimately exhausting; the opponents stick together until there is something to give, at least from the viewer’s point of view. Since it is not surprising how it turns out in the end, shorter and tighter would have been much more advisable than longer and more tedious.

Dramatically, that’s too bad, as first-time director JJ Perry seems to have given this opportunity everything he had when it came to action. Perry has long been one of the busiest and most accomplished fight choreographers/stunt coordinators/second unit leaders in the industry; The Fast and Furious and John Wick series are just some of the most recent of his decades-long credits. Based on the evidence here, it’s clear that Perry definitely knows how to shoot heavy action. Unfortunately, the storytelling lacks much sense or coherence (the script comes from prolific duo Zack Snyder and Shay Hatten, veterans of several John Wick and Army of the Dead/Army of Thieves installments), so it remains to be seen what Perry could do better and better constructed use more attractive material.

Day Shift begins streaming exclusively on Netflix on Friday.