Where I Watched it: Netflix
Description Provided By: International Digital Center
Written By: Dakota Green
Narrated By: Sri Gordon
It’s well known that Adam Sandler has a development deal with Netflix,through Happy Madison, which explains the insane amount of films he’s produced or starred in that have reached the service. It’s becoming a bit more of a question as to whether or not Jamie Foxx has a netflix deal, because he seems to keep appearing in things that are beneath him, but perhaps just seem like “well, someone will pay me to do this, and I’ve always wanted to.” i suppose, he’s made a lot of money, which would explain Beat Shazam, which he gets to do with his daughter. Then the Netflix film project Power is obviously his desire to play a superhero, even if it’s not a memorable one. Then, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me was his attempt at returning to a sitcom. now, Day Shift is him fulfilling a life long dream of being kind of like Blade.
I ahve a feeling, Foxx really wanted that Marvel reboot of Blade, and when Mahershala Ali got it over him, he was like “well, the man does have TWO Oscars”. So, Foxx used his one Oscar, called up his buddy Snoop Dogg (who played a vampire already in Bones), and attempted to make something watchable.
The problem here isn’t really Jamie Foxx, it is that Netflix just does not care what they put out. i doubt there are test screenings, because I can’t imagine half of these films getting approval from test audiences. I think they throw cash at an algorithm, and hope the clicks make the film worthwhile. They do not seem to care if the film is good. They buy films out of festivals for their Oscar contenders. Or, they throw 150 million at Noah Baumbach (who i don’t think has cumulatively spent that much money ever).
Day Shift is an amalgamation of too much. It’s a horror movie, as most vampire movies without Kristen Stewart tend to be. There’s the usual vampire killings, humans in peril, people being decapitated, impaled, and maimed. Then, this is also a comedy, something Foxx is adept at, but they really lean heavy on Dave Franco for this genre. his character is a walking joke, taking that “training day” appeal and using it to pee his pants on multiple occasions. It’s also got a fair amount of action sequences unrelated to vampirism, with a loud car chase dropped right in the middle of the film. Then, it decides to be at least the second project this year where a black father has to do something insane and ridiculous or risk losing his family as they move across country, and the only way to stop this is earning a ton of money in a short period of time.
Really, this film takes on a lot. It’s that busy nature that caused its writers to forget to write a backstory in here for a villain, or explore the thing that makes this film actually interesting, the rules of vampirism. Every film takes the basic rules and modifies them a bit. Some people turn once bitten, others need to be bitten and then drink vampire blood to turn. While the film does interesting things with garlic and silver, it also introduces things like vampires surviving decapitation.
And the worst offense is the hints throughout at this coming war, that our main villain seems to be setting up, but everything is so vague and unestablished that the plot never thickens. She makes a phone call to someone, suggesting a vampire hierarchy. There’s talk of elders. They just go nowhere with it.
And then, there’s a random character introduced who is in one scene, and then suddenly becomes the worlds most important character when Foxx magically realizes this person is a spy. Betrayed! He’s devastated by a character we barely know.
It’s a film that could have been good with better direction. But as it is, it’s just not. It’s a lot of things, but at no point do you ever feel like Day Shift will be a new vampire classic in the vein of films like The Lost Boys, Nosferatu, Blade, underworld, 30 Days of night, any of the Dracula adaptations, or interview With A Vampire.
I’d love to see Foxx challenge himself again. Just Mercy was the right path, and I’m sorry we didn’t throw him an Oscar nomination to keep him on that path.
The audio description here is really pretty good, as there is a lot going on. The heavily choreographed action sequences, not to mention the gore, make for some fun for green and Gordon. As usual, they did a good job. Unfortunately, the film just isn’t very good.
Final Grade: C-