In “Day Shift,” Jamie Foxx plays a family man version of Marvel’s Blade, and the film’s genres—horror and buddy comedy—are mashed together in a Frankenstein-like fashion. It’s the sort of star-driven vehicle that helps Netflix immensely even if, on the whole, it’s not very good.
With his recent roles in Netflix hits like “Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!” (written by and produced by his daughter Corinne Foxx) and “Project Power,” it’s evident that Foxx is a fan favorite of the streaming service’s algorithm and enjoys paying its checks. The narrative of “Day Shift,” which might just as easily be dubbed “Dad: Vampire Slayer,” revolves around parenthood once again. Bounty hunter Bud Jablonski (Foxx), who pretends to be a pool cleaner, is having trouble making ends meet when he receives devastating news: his ex-wife Meagan Good and their kid are leaving Los Angeles (Zion Broadnax).
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Seth (Dave Franco), a frightened office worker, is assigned to ride along with Bud in an effort to catch him committing code violations that will allow the worldwide vampire-hunting union to destroy Bud’s career. As a normal, albeit lowbrow, reaction to the novel experience of being slain, this leads to much chitchat, disagreement, and, alas, the wetting of one’s trousers.
Despite the fact that “Day Shift” seems to exist primarily for the violent, martial arts-flavored fight sequences (these vampires are unexpectedly susceptible to getting punched in the face), the abundant action eventually becomes tedious after the first encounter, in which Bud kills an “old lady” who turns out to be a lot more than that. An ancient vampire named Audrey (Karla Souza of “How to Get Away with Murder”) is buying up property in the San Fernando Valley, which may be a metaphor for the high cost of living in Southern California, but is otherwise a very generic danger.
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Veteran stuntman J.J. Perry, making his directorial debut, together with writers Tyler Tice and Shay Hatten, are looking for laughs and fun wherever they can find them, and they’ve enlisted Snoop Dogg to play a grizzled vampire hunter. But like the rest of “Day Shift,” the combat scenes appear improvised, with the movie dragging out its buildup to the noisy, drawn-out, and tiresome climax.
Netflix has shown a penchant for films starring Jamie Foxx, so it’s safe to assume that “Day Shift” will meet the streaming service’s minimum minute requirements. However, while the combination of premise and star may pay rewards at the box office, this is the kind of soulless attempt where it would be wise not to give up your day jobs.