The Gray Man and Red Notice have become the norm for big-budget action-oriented Netflix Originals, but the streaming giants' recent output is often criticized as not much more than movies by algorithms. Netflixs feature films have often been homogenized, four-quadrant content, specifically engineered to garner clicks based on a few familiar actors, plus just enough CGI-smeared thrills to distract viewers from how bloated and uninspired almost every aspect of these massive productions have been. Day
Yes, it was still conceived for a cross-genre audience, with Jamie Foxx as the primary big name right there. This film's cinematic flavor is more interesting than any other Netflix Originals, because it has a clear point of view, obvious swagger, and decidedly old-school feel.
J.J. Perry deserves credit for his achievements in directing a feature film. While this is his first time fully at the helm of a feature film, he is no rookie at delivering top-notch mayhem on screen. His 30-year-plus career as a stunt performer and action coordinator is virtually unparalleled in Hollywood. So when the 87eleven group decided it would continue with Day Shift as its first fully branded 87eleven film project, the group reached out to Perry, a long-
Perry refers to his real job as a low-cost pool cleaner in the San Fernando Valley, bringing a serious white-knuckle danger to film sets. It's all there is to his working-man attitude, as well as to his young daughter's unending struggles, like a gentrifying elder bloodsucker (Karla Souza).
The refreshingly low stakes and the ease with which the mundane and the supernatural intermix here are just two ways Day Shift will enthuse savvy viewers of the many video-store classics it has written a love letter to. The Lost Boys, Dead Heat, and Fright Night are all given their own names, among other films. Some of these references are playful, equating shoutouts.
Day Shift does not live or die by these references and homages. Someone who has never seen the older films the script and directing nod to will still find a lot of quality subtle world-building that suggests where sequels (and spinoffs) might fit if theres a suitable demand.
Tice and Hatten never forget that action films still need relatable characters. They ground the wild proceedings in a tried-and-true mismatched partners strategy that has largely fallen out of favor. Bud is placed in the role of the put-upon veteran forced to deal with Francos inexperienced pencil pusher turned field agent, Seth. The two men have an easygoing connection that helps make their chatter seem natural rather than excessive.
The script takes the time to give each and every major character in the film, even Karla Souza's nasty vampire real-estate broker, brief moments that make the film feel human. These character moments, big and small, help keep the film going, even when the plot loses some coherence in the third act in pursuit of the required action conclusion.
The way Day Shift has been expressly promoted under the John Wick name is a guaranteed draw, and action lovers who join in will be rewarded with some of 2022's finest action sequences. (See the 2021 Bob Odenkirk as badass assassin crowd-pleaser Nobody) They also provide supporting cast members with a chance to show off their newly acquired action heroes.
Perry's adventurous traits have always been a bit different from those of his 87eleven colleagues, and it shows in the way Day Shift differs from Nobody or the John Wick films. The supernatural setting allows him to add more embellishments, giving the many action scenes a compelling feel. Like a lucha libre wrestling battle royale, Sam Raimi meets Blade.
The harrowingness of this film is entirely appropriate from a filmmaker who the stunt community has affectionately dubbed Loco. None of the intricate fight scenes, intense shootouts, or wild car chases featured in the film are obscured by inadequate editing or unnecessary CGI. It's all presented clearly, perfectly tuned for maximum visual impact. It's a wonderful comeback from the days when film's most valuable film magic was the fearless stunt performers risking their lives to get the real thrills in front
Netflix's Day Shiftsplace feature will have a lot of competition for viewers' attention, with the platforms seemingly never-ending content stream always moving on to the next film or series without giving new releases much time in the spotlight. Hopefully, these barriers will not keep the audience's interest in the film in the future.
Day Shift is now available on Netflix.