Day Shift review – Jamie Foxx staggers through fangs-for-nothing vampire flick

A down-at-heel hero fires wooden bullets at boring bloodthirsty villains in this unexciting and unfunny action comedy

Veteran stunt coordinator JJ Perry makes a clunky directing debut with this appropriately undead two-hour slice of action-comedy content for Netflix about a “vampire hunter” played by Jamie Foxx; the crude and tiring shotgun-blasts to the creatures’ faces and torsos are taken from every single boring zombie film you’ve ever seen.

LA is suffering from an infestation of vampires, kept quiet by the authorities, so there is a secret army of vampire hunters whacking these fanged critters on the sly and picking up bounty fees for presenting their trophy fangs to various licensed and unlicensed dealers. Bud (Foxx) rides around town in his scuzzy old pickup, posing as a pool cleaner. In fact, he has an array of pump-action shotguns, psychotic hunting knives, rolls of decapitation wire and special bullets with toughened wood (the 21st-century equivalent of the stake through the heart). His only ally and pal is fellow maverick Big John Elliott, a cameo blearily phoned in by Snoop Dogg.

Bud needs $10,000 real quick, or his estranged wife Jocelyn (Meagan Good) is going to move to Florida taking their adorable young daughter Paige (Zion Broadnax) with her because she can’t afford the school fees. (It doesn’t really look like a pricey private school, and are things going to be that much cheaper in Florida? Well, the plot isn’t the point.) To get more vampire-killing work, Bud has to swallow his pride and apply for readmission to the stuffy vampire-hunting “union” that had expelled him. They agree on the condition that he accept a partner: hilariously uptight operative Seth (Dave Franco) who is not used to field work.

The crude, tedious action sequences with their video-game aesthetic are an incredible trial and there is nothing interesting or glamorous about these vampires at all. There is a tiny flicker of comic potential when Seth himself is compromised, but the ethos of being “turned” is fudged so that you can sort of become a vampire while more or less staying a good guy. Pretty bloodless stuff.

• Day Shift is released on 12 August on Netflix.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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