‘Day Shift’ Review: Stakes Out

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A series of baroque action sequences strung on twin wires of corn and cliché, the vampire comedy “Day Shift” starts out at a gallop and keeps right on moving. And motion is everything in this Netflix caper — J.J. Perry’s first feature as a director after more than three decades in stunt work — those action scenes hogging most of the filmmakers’ attention and much of their imagination. Jamie Foxx might have top billing, but right there beside him are the professional contortionists whose eye-popping moves are more commonly seen in Las Vegas showrooms than on movie screens.

Even so, Foxx, as you might expect, has got this. As Bud Jablonski, a cash-strapped pool cleaner-cum-vampire hunter, the actor radiates blue-collar competence in the midst of escalating buffoonery. Bud has an estranged, exasperated wife and a darling young daughter in need of expensive dental work and school tuition. To pay for both, he must rejoin the union that expelled him for his unorthodox hunting practices. Vouched for by his friend Big John (Snoop Dogg), a cool, cowboy-hatted lady-killer, Bud promises the aggrieved union boss that he will behave. Uh-huh.

Set in a sunny San Fernando Valley literally crawling with the undead, “Day Shift” has some sly touches (the übervamp, played by Karla Souza, sells real estate) and an uptight sidekick in Seth (Dave Franco), Bud’s union representative. A dorky desk jockey, Seth is the familiar foil for the hero’s one-liners, but Franco plays him with a sweetness that keeps his fussiness from grating. Frenzied and goofily good-natured, “Day Shift” is all sensation and not much sense — except, of course, in its belief in the absolute utility of a union card.

Day Shift
Rated R for bloody massacres galore. Running time: 1 hour 53 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

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