‘Day Shift’ Review
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Day Shift (2022) is the directorial debut of J.J. Perry, you know… the stunt professional that “taught John Wick how to kick ass”. Perry has been working as a stunt man since the late 80s and has worked on Blade, Mortal Kombat, Beowolf, Iron Man, Argo, Django Unchained, F9: The Fast Saga, and just about every other popular action flick to explode across the silver screen in the last three decades. To say I was excited to see him making a vampire action-comedy starring Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg was an understatement.
Day Shift follows a hard-working, blue-collar dad who just wants to provide a good life for his quick-witted 8-year-old daughter. His mundane San Fernando Valley pool cleaning job is a front for his real source of income: hunting and killing vampires. Sounds insane right? But with its self-aware humor, absurd concept, phenomenal fight choreography, lush color grading, and tons of charisma from its cast, I can say with conviction that Day Shift is a win for J.J. Perry and Netflix.
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I don’t want to be misunderstood, Day Shift‘s plot is ludicrous. But because the writing owns what the film is, it doesn’t get caught up trying to be Underworld (because it’s not). The film wholeheartedly owns its ridiculous concept and takes it to some of its furthest corners. Right away we’re introduced to Bud Jablonski (Jamie Foxx) as he breaks into the house of an old woman and blasts her away with a sawed-off shotgun. This would have been shocking if the trailers hadn’t given away the fact that she was a vampire. What comes is a martial arts-inspired fight scene with the utmost brutality.
The stunt actor portraying the older vampire is giving us the audience a full range of contortion. Every time Jamie Foxx as Bud slams her against the ground, her body is bending in ways that a human body absolutely shouldn’t. That of course just adds to the impact of the action at hand. Seeing this deranged creature bend into a flat surface is just part of the brutality that elevates Day Shift. The spectacle of the film continues in a myriad of creative kills.
Silver-lined Gujarat wire decapitation, kukri decapitation, flat screen television decapitation, lots of decapitation. Morbid? Sure. Fun? Oh hell yes. J.J. Perry being an industry stunt professional puts so much of what he’s learned from stunt coordination over the years and really shows a depth of combat. Every move tells a story and every hit feels impactful. Aside from the spectacular stunt work of Day Shift, screenwriters Tyler Tice and Shay Hatten craft an amusing bit of world-building. Hatten’s work on John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum adds the subtle lore of the world of John Wick and spreads a little bit of that magic here in Day Shift.
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Office Space meets Fright Night is how I imagined they pitched this script. From paying union dues, kissing manager’s asses, climbing company ladders, and so on. It provides a bit of grounding of the concept while building the overall world this movie exists in. Even the vamps have their own hierarchy which plays of course into the plot.
Finally, the cast of players in Day Shift just “chew” their scenery so well. Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg, Dave Franco, Meagan Good, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Karla Souza, and Peter Stormare just make this movie their own. Day Shift knows what it is and explores all the fun whiteboard concept ideas of the vampire mythos. It’s a silly action-comedy with gorgeous leads and kung-fu vampires, don’t go in expecting Shakespeare. Turn your brain off and enjoy the spectacle that is Day Shift.
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Have You Watched Day Shift?
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