“This is like the third movie we’ve seen where vampires are also realtors,” Kaja observes.
“It’s an easy metaphor,” I admit.
Day Shift is set in sunny Los Angeles, as hard-working vampire hunter Bud Jablonski (Jamie Foxx) tries to earn a living snuffing out the undead and selling their teeth to oily pawnshop owner Troy (Peter Stormare).
There is a vampire hunter union, and Bud could make more money if he was a member. Alas, he’s been kicked out for not following the rules.
And wouldn’t you know it? He’s got a week to put together $10,000 for his daughter’s school tuition and braces, and his soon-to-be ex-wife wants to sell their house.
This situation provides the comic fulcrum and prompts Bud’s return to the union, where he is assigned a by-the-book partner named Seth, played by Dave Franco as a Rick Moranis-style retro nerd.
The villain in Day Shift is Audrey San Fernando (Karla Souza), an ambitious land baron who’s trying to buy up the valley she’s named after. She’s got a score to settle with Bud, who recently beheaded Audrey’s daughter during a house call.
Heck, let’s throw in Snoop Dogg dressed in full-on cowboy gear as Big John Elliott, a legendary slayer with a Clint Eastwood vibe.
Day Shift, directed by J.J. Perry and written by Tyler Tice and Shane Hatten, provides zippy spectacle with state-of-the-art vampire slaying methods (garlic grenades, silver beheading wire, wooden bullets), and the action is tightly choreographed and brutally executed.
The scene in which Bud teams up with the Nazarian Brothers, a pair of Eastern European tough boys, to clean out a nest of vampires is a real adrenaline popper. Martial arts, flying body parts, and tech toys make for successful stimulation.
Unfortunately, when the rumbles subside, we’re not left with much to occupy our attention.
It’s a minor complaint, but Bud’s family is about as one-dimensional as it gets. The sassy daughter (Zion Broadnax) and endlessly complaining wife (Meagan Goode) are standard plug and play characters.
There are loose ends left dangling all over the place, including a sunscreen that allows vampires to run around in the daylight for a short time. A significant discovery in Nosferatu society, but here it barely rates a mention.
And what’s up with Jamie Foxx’s name? When was the last time you met an African-American dude named Bud Jablonski?
If you’re inclined to forgive a few half-assed details, Day Shift delivers decent bang for the buck, but you’re not missing anything special.
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