While subverting genre rules delivers a satisfying pay-off when done right, it is beyond fatiguing to watch if done as haphazardly as in Day Shift. Martial artist and action choreographer J.J. Perry makes his directorial debut with this film, which switches genres from horror to buddy-comedy to action to family-friendly and to road movie, in the blink of an eye.
There is a father who would lose his family if he does not get a large sum of money in time. The father, Bud Jablonski (Jamie Foxx), is a humble pool cleaner who moonlights as a vampire hunter, or is it vice-versa? Never mind. Bud needs money to prevent his ex-wife, Jocelyn (Meagan Good) from moving to Florida with their daughter Paige (Zion Broadnax).
He eats humble pie and gets back into the vampire-fighting union (he was thrown out because of his risky ways) to get top dollar for his work. Even though famed vampire hunter, Big John, (Snoop Dogg) puts in a good word for Bud, boss Ralph Seeger (Eric Lange) is having none of it. Ralph insists Bud travels with a union rep and chooses desk jockey Seth (Dave Franco) for the job. Also in the mix are legendary vampire hunters, Mike (Steve Howey) and Diran (Scott Adkins) Nazarian and Bud’s neighbour, Heather (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), who might be much more than a caring nurse. Troy (Peter Stormare) is the pawn dealer who comes to a sticky end involving pliers and teeth.
They all face an evil vampire lady, Audrey (Karla Souza) who talks like she has a mouth full of teeth — oh wait, she does have a mouthful of teeth. Audrey is a hotshot realtor (what is the subtext here then?) when she is not torturing people and drinking their blood.
While the premise looks rock solid on paper, it comes across as a jumbled mess on screen. The action sequences are lazy, the gore anaemic, and the humour rather puerile. Foxx’s charisma is the only saving grace in a film that promises much and delivers precious little.
Day Shift is currently streaming on Netflix