Movie: Day Shift
Production Companies: 87Eleven Entertainment, Impossible Dream Entertainment
Director: J.J Perry
Producers: Shaun Redick, Yvette Yates Redick, Chad Stahelski, Jason Spitz
Scriptwriters: Tyler Tice, Shay Hatten
Main Cast: Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Meagan Good, Karla Souza, Snoop Dogg
Release Date: August 12th 2022 (US)
Running Time: 114 minutes
Well this is probably the silliest film that Jamie Foxx has ever been in. And that’s saying something when he was in the Amazing Spiderman 2? Well, Day Shift might have been released to mixed reviews but it is a fun little romp which smashes just about every film genre together with interesting results. On one hand, Day Shift’s narrative often struggles to keep audiences engaged at points. But on the other hand, the sheer hilarity of seeing Snoop Dogg and Jamie Foxx hunting vampires is surreal and hilarious simultaneously. So, let’s get into the review of the film.
Day Shift follows Bud Jablonski (Foxx), a vampire hunter masquerading as a pool cleaner in order to conceal his real job. The crux, pun intended, of the film’s narrative centres on Bud killing a pair of vampires. One of these vampires just so happens to be the daughter of a powerful LA based vampire: Audrey San Fernando (Souza). If that wasn’t enough of a problem for Bud to deal with, his home life is slowly looking like it’s going to fall apart. Bud’s relationship with his wife, Jocelyn (Good), is estranged when she says if their daughter’s, Paige, tuition isn’t paid soon, she’s going to move to Florida with her.
All of this forces Bud to return to the vampire hunting union, yes really…, for better pay. The only caveat? Bud is being monitored by the union head and his deskbound union rep, Seth (Franco). On his journey to save his family, Bud has to learn to operate within the union rules and cooperate with others. If that plot sounds ludicrously silly, then I’m not surprised. So without further ado, let’s get into the analysis portion of the review now.
Jamie Foxx’s Performance in Day Shift
To begin my analysis of Day Shift, I’m going to discuss the elephant in the vampire infested room: Jamie Foxx’s performance as Bud Jablonski. So, just how good is Foxx’s performance as Bud? Well, despite a fairly lacklustre script at points Foxx produces a funny and solid enough performance. It also helps to have a great comedic cast, particularly Franco and somehow Snoop Dogg. But anyway, what are some examples of Foxx’s good performance? Well, take any of the well done and choreographed fight scenes. Here, Foxx really shines with a sort of tough man charisma which is only complimented by James Franco’s skittish desk worker who definitely isn’t weird for relieving himself during a vampire fight.
During these fight scenes, Foxx looks and performs the part of the vampire hunter as he effortlessly kills vampire after vampire. Also, another example of Foxx’s good performance in Day Shift comes with his interactions with his daughter: Paige. Take the scene where he picks her up from school. Here, we see Bud’s caring side where he takes Paige to Yogurtworld. While the script feels lacklustre and cliched at points, Foxx’s performance in this scene helps ground the film in reality as Bud just wants to be able to spend time with his daughter.
Fight Scenes in Day Shift
Continuing my analysis of Day Shift, I’m going to elaborate on a point I alluded to in the previous paragraph: Day Shift’s fight scenes. So, are these fight scenes difficult to watch due to poor editing? Well, the short answer is no. Take the fight scene where Bud, Seth and two other vampire hunters, the Nazarians, walk into a vampire hive. Here, we see some wonderfully fluid cinematography, particularly with the Nazarians. An example of this is one of the brothers holding a vampire in place for a spinning kick and the camera panning across to capture the kick in one movement.
This is a theme throughout the film as while the story is full of cliches, the fight scenes are well done. Again taking the vampire hive scene as an example, we can see how the camera shows Seth’s naivety in combat. While the camera pans smoothly when showing Bud fighting, showing his experience, it’s often choppier when around Seth. While this is annoying, it also serves to emphasise a point: that Seth is a novice when it comes to fighting. This is further emphasised by how Bud flies into the scene to save him. Nice touch there….
The Narrative in Day Shift
Concluding my analysis of Day Shift, I’m going to discuss the story and why it often feels cliched and lacklustre. So what makes the narrative like this? Well, for starters the basis of the narrative. Day Shift is at its core all about Bud’s quest to keep his family together in spite of financial problems. So why does this feel cliched? It’s a story we’ve seen many times before: the slacker and/or lying father trying to cling onto his relationship with his child and estranged partner.
This serves to add a layer of predictability to the narrative. This is because the audience can kind of guess that in the end he’s going to learn to be truthful. Oh and also he’s going to get his family back. Unfortunately, this does really hamper a lot of the film’s more emotional beats. Why? Because deep down the audience knows that Bud is going to succeed in the end. This is in spite of how many times the film’s narrative tries to convince you otherwise.
To summarise Day Shift, don’t go in expecting high quality narrative and story beats as there aren’t really any. However, if you want a fun, stupid film to watch if you’ve got 2 hours free on Netflix this is definitely the film for you. Honestly, if the premise of Snoop Dogg and Jamie Foxx fighting vampires doesn’t appeal to you slightly, maybe check Day Shift out cause it almost becomes so bad it’s good.
Overall Rating: 5.5/10 – Above Average
Target Audience: 18+
Content Warning: Severe Violence and Gore, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol and Drugs References, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes