Stuntmen and stunt coordinators are arguably better than anyone (aside from John Woo) at directing action movies; it seems quite obvious, but they don’t often get the chance to do it. Ever since stuntman Hal Needham, who did stunts for The French Connectionconvinced Burt Reynolds to let him direct Smokey and the banditstunt coordinators have made huge action movies. Atomic Blonde, Extraction, Bullet Train, Hobbs & Shawand every John Wick were all stunt-directed, and now JJ Perry throws his hat in the ring with day shifta new vampiric horror comedy about netflix.
Perry brings a unique working-class sensibility to the film, the story of a father who was kicked out of the vampire hunters’ syndicate; he now uses a job as a pool cleaner as a subterfuge to disguise his renegade and unauthorized vampire hunt. His hustle can’t support his family when they need quick cash, so he tries to be in good graces with the syndicate again, unaware that a new type of vampire is hunting him.
Pool Guy: Vampire Slayer might seem like a bad, low-budget premise that would crumble under the weight of its own stupidity, but it’s undeniable from the opening minutes of day shift how much professionalism and absolute competence are displayed here. If only the film could follow.
Jamie Foxx and Day Shift’s Best Action Sequence
Jamie Foxx is charming as Bud Jablonski (unrelated to the Polish molecular physicist) and seems to be having more fun than he has since. baby driver. Many may have forgotten how funny Foxx is and how he started out as a comedic force to be reckoned with in The Jamie Foxx Show, Roc, and In living color. His comedic instincts haven’t aged a bit in three decades (and he looks better than ever here), as Foxx delves into the ridiculous nature of day shift with enthusiasm. He has an energy similar to that of Bruce Willis in die hard here, and apparently ad-libs some great little comic non-sequences throughout the film with complete ease (like when he orders yogurt and asks if there’s a discount for Black History Month).
day shift begins with Jablonski cleaning a swimming pool before equipping himself with guns and blades to investigate a house that doubles as a vampire crypt. Just five minutes later day shift, Foxx blasts an old woman in the chest with a shotgun; her hand shakes, and before the dust can even settle, she sits up on the ground and reveals her true vampiric colors. This kicks off what is honestly one of the best fight scenes in years, an incredibly choreographed and visually ingenious battle that is wildly entertaining. It is the perfect incongruity which day shift aims – a mix of over-the-top moments, gruesome action sequences, and startling comedy.
Perry hired real contortionists for several of the vampires in day shift, and when mixed with the choreographic brilliance of the stuntman and Foxx’s own stunt work, it’s truly a sight to behold. Bodies twist in unimaginable ways, wooden balls fly and silver blades slash in what looks like a Cirque du Soleil post-apocalyptic bar fight. It’s a haunting scene that’s both bloody in its brutality and immensely clever in its design, and makes for one of the best opening scenes of 2022. Sadly, it’s a high that never repeats throughout. long day shiftwhich gives the impression that the rest of the film is slipping into the superfluous.
Day Shift’s Plot Bites More Than It Can Chew
Nevertheless, there is plenty of fun to be had on the way down. The way Foxx puts aside a litany of small comedic gestures certainly helps the film as it hurtles towards cliche-ville, as Jablonski has a week to find thousands of dollars to prevent his (estranged) wife and daughter to move to Florida. . Meanwhile, Audrey San Fernando (Karla Souza), a very powerful vampire who tries to unite the different vampire species to rule California in broad daylight with the invention of vampire sunscreen, is out for revenge on Jablonski. .
Jablonski must rejoin the Vampire Hunters Syndicate (Local 8711) in order to earn enough money to support his family (because vampire teeth are worth money, for some inexplicable reason). Unfortunately, his reckless actions have earned him expulsion multiple times for breaking various codes, but his friend Big J (Snoop Dogg) is able to get him back on one condition: that a tense, rule-abiding desk jockey named Seth (Dave Franco) accompany him and make sure that no code is violated.
So begins the buddy cop part of day shift, which is jam-packed with over-the-top tropes but still enjoyable because of Franco and Foxx’s chemistry. Franco has quickly become one of the most engaging actors working today, and he’s absolutely hilarious here. Even though his character is a bit underwritten and undergoes a fairly random change midway through the film, Franco elevates every scene he’s in with kindness, wit, and just excellent acting. Snoop Dogg is also surprisingly good, playing a handsome cowboy who has apparently slept with everyone.
As one can probably assume, there is a lot going on in day shift, and its already long 114 minutes doesn’t seem like enough to cover it all. Several other characters and subplots are introduced, and the main plot elements are so rushed that it often feels like the movie skipped a reel. There seem to be some big gaps in the narrative here, as characters like Heather (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) suddenly come out of nowhere and become part of the plot progression without any prior character development for guidance. There are things going on with Seth, Big John, and Jablonski’s wife and daughter that are either undeserved or downright unexplained.
JJ Perry From stuntman to day shift manager
Despite the script’s weakness, Foxx and (especially) Franco are charming, funny, and likable, and Perry speeds things up in such a smooth and energetic way that the film is generally entertaining regardless. Perry does fascinating and clever things in day shift, and absolutely reveals his directing skills here; with a better script, it could make the next big action movie. What he did, however, wasn’t just show off his incredible talent in the action sequences (which makes sense, coming from a stuntman and co-ordinator of Avatar, Iron Man, whackand Star Trek Into Darkness) but also his skill with the actors, his patience with the dialogue sequences and his intelligence to bring interesting themes to life.
Perry was raised (perhaps by a single mother) as a very working class; he was keen on martial arts, but his mother could not afford lessons, so when he was eight, he worked as a janitor for a martial arts academy in exchange for lessons. After leaving the military (unfortunately one of the few options for people in poverty who want to get ahead in life), he started doing stunt work, very slowly making a name for himself after a few uncredited roles. Over the past three decades, he has risen through the ranks and become one of the most respected people in the field.
This Working-Class Vampire Movie Should Have Been Better
day shift cleverly reflects much of that working-class sensibility. It is, of course, a movie about a pool guy who needs the money. The main villain, Audrey, is literally a vampire real estate agent, which is saying a lot in the midst of our current housing crisis. The film’s focus on unions and the ability of the underclass to team up in ways to fight the bloodsucking elite has unmistakable proletarian vibes. In many ways, day shift is the most blue-collar vampire movie ever made, and with a few rewrites and sharper teeth (or a transition to a limited series), could have been a hugely important movie with illuminating messages without losing any of its fun.
As it is, day shift is a hugely uneven but generally entertaining action-comedy with an excellent cast and an incredibly flawless sequence. Hopefully this is a precursor to Perry’s masterpiece. day shiftfrom 87Eleven Entertainment and Impossible Dream Entertainment, and produced by Shaun Redick, Yvette Yates Redick, Chad Stahelski and Jason Spitz, is now streaming on Netflix.