Clichés aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They wouldn’t be clichés if they were, would they? With proper implementation, they can serve as a fun reference tool, function as a sort of throwback in genre storytelling, or even potentially be used to subvert their own original intent. It’s when filmmakers start piling up clichés that they really become problematic. Even the smartest concept and exciting stylistic tendencies can be drowned out by a tower of tropes that makes the story boring, lazy, and exhausting to watch unfold.
With that in mind, director JJ Perry Day shift is a movie that looks like it was scripted by a computer. The words and phrases “cop buddies”, “vampires”, “Los Angeles” and “John Wick-esque action” were all thrown into a machine, and this storyline is what was spat out. It’s a generic mess in its execution from open to close, and only made more baffling by the fact that it comes across interesting ideas, but clearly has no idea what to do with them (leaving them abandoned and never developed beyond their introduction).
Jamie Foxx stars as Bud Jabolonski, who isn’t just a vampire hunter, but a rogue vampire hunter – the one who got kicked out of the local vampire hunters union for being a big, bad rule-breaker. Of course, he’s also a caring father to his darling daughter, Paige, (Zion Broadnax), but he’s divorced from her mother, Jocelyn (Megan Good), who, for some inexplicable reason, is unaware of this. that Bud does for a living and thinks he’s a pool cleaner instead.
While driving Paige home one day, Bud is bombshell-told that Jocelyn can no longer afford Paige’s private school tuition, which is due in a week, and that she and their daughter are going to get together. raise and move to Florida accordingly. Needing to earn $5,000 fast, Bud has no choice but to join the syndicate so he can sell vampire teeth – the trophies for every kill – at fair market value. The catch is that the rebellious, lonely wolf protagonist has to be paired with an appraiser for a week-long probationary period, and naturally, he’s assigned Seth (Dave Franco), a bespectacled, mealy-mouthed introvert. who doesn’t believe in guns and can recite every union rule from memory.
While Bud and Seth are assigned to cover for the day shift – hence the film’s title – they are unknowingly hunted down. By pure chance, Bud manages to piss off one of the most powerful vampires in the world (Karla Souza), and when she goes looking for him, she also discovers his family.
Day Shift wants to be John Wick-ian in its world building, but fails to do so.
Day shift is the latest film from production house 87Eleven Entertainment, and it shows by the fact that it seems utterly desperate to be discussed in the same conversations as John Wick. It tries incredibly hard to execute the world-building alongside the heavily choreographed action, but that’s just window dressing that doesn’t add anything meaningful or interesting to the work. The union’s model is just “police station,” and none of the various rules and violations highlighted matter.
He can’t even use the background properly for effective, subtle exposition – instead opting for sequences like when Bud and Seth are sitting in a car and the former asks the latter to tell him about the different species of vampires. (apparently there are five, but I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between any of them watching the movie). Day shift tries to impress its audience by having the characters drop anecdotes or worldly lore into the dialogue, suggesting that what we see in the film is only the surface of what happens…but it’s is much more problematic than impressive because it is effective exposes how superficial all the effort is.
The action in Day Shift is inconsistent and more “cool” than fun.
We hope the generic blandness of the plot in Day shift could at the very least be spurred on by the action of the film, but it even struggles in that department. The combat itself is neat and clearly executed by talented experts, but on a macro scale there is no flow between sequences. More often than not, the big fights feel forced and inorganic, as the filmmakers are petrified to let more than a few scenes pass between beheadings and shotgun blasts. There’s a whole 10-minute battle in the second act featuring Bud, Seth, and a few other vampire hunters (Steve Howey, Scott Adkins) stuck in a nest that could be removed from the movie entirely without any issues.
The fact that there’s no consistency in fighting and killing vampires doesn’t help at all. In the opening scene of the movie, Bud has to fire dozens and dozens of specialized shotgun shells at a vampire before he finally takes him down…but in the nest sequence I just mentioned, the final two vampires are respectively shot down with a strong head crack. and exploding one of his feet. There are no stakes (in either sense of the word, actually), and the action scenes simply end when the movie decides enough is enough.
Don’t get invested in Day Shift’s most interesting ideas, because the movie doesn’t know what to do with them.
The inconsistency of killing vampires is actually one of many half-baked ideas that are introduced by Day shift, but nothing ever happens with them. This is a film in which its characters fight vampires during the day and discuss the existence of a powerful sunscreen that allows monsters to temporarily exist in direct sunlight – and yet every fight sequence unfolds indoors with drawn blinds/blinds/curtains. And not only are the “different” vampire species indistinguishable, there’s a moment where Seth has a confused moment about their cohabitation, and it goes nowhere.
That should probably go without saying, but it’s also not a movie that manages to do anything allegorical with its bloodsucking villains, but what’s really disconcerting is the fact that it there are shades of a scrapped/undeveloped idea in the mix. The central antagonist is introduced as a real estate agent with a plot who hopes to see vampires infiltrate Los Angeles into the safety of the real estate market, and there’s a moment in the movie where you wonder if he’s trying to say something bigger on the modern urban. housing crisis. But then the movie continues, and… no.
There’s solid stunt work, and the basic idea of a colorful, sunny vampire movie is cute, but Day shift is grimacing in its execution. It’s lazy, scattered and incoherent, and as a result, it’s in no way entertaining.