STREAMING REVIEWS: From action to suspense

Published August 14, 2022, 2:48 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Jamie Foxx in ‘Day Shift’

Today, we have two new drops on Netflix. One has Jamie Foxx engaged in vampire-hunting Action, while the second comes from Spain, a suspense offering that features a Filipina-Spanish actress.

Day Shift (Netflix USA) – Jamie Foxx is back on a produced for Netflix film outing, and it’s got a premise that revolves around Men In Black, but substituting the aliens with vampires and setting the whole enterprise in sunny Los Angeles. Even the bromance/buddy element of MIB gets a switcher as Jamie plays veteran Bud, an overzealous vampire hunter, to Dave Franco’s uptight, squeamish about blood, union rep Seth, who has to accompany Bud on his hunting missions. Snoop Dogg is along for the ride and prolongs what I first thought would be a cameo into an extended role that does reveal Snoop is more about presence than he is about acting. The action sequences are the best thing about the film, and hopefully, should be enough for an audience low on expectations.

I mention low expectations as one should be forewarned that the screenplay is riddled with anemic, falling flat jokes – over 50 percent of them are of the inferior quality. Some meta-shtick about the Twilight movies or Miami Vice hit home, but they’re far and few, if I’m being honest. There’s even some kind of plot device about Mexican vampire cartels and land grabbers, but if you’re really into Mexican vampires, head to the novels of Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Franco as Seth is actually the best thing in the film, and his attack on the role is genuinely funny. Foxx seems to be more in the mode of ‘I’m just picking up my hefty paycheck’. This film would actually work in late night screenings where the audience is already intoxicated and rowdy.

Code Name: Emperor (Netflix Spain) – This could have easily passed US by as another of those suspense/police procedural thrillers that several European countries have come to specialize in, and then offload to Netflix in the streaming platform’s drive for global content. And of late, we’ve been bombarded by those that come from Italy, France, Spain, plus contributions from East European nations. This one comes from Spain, and to an extent, could well have been classified as your ‘paint by numbers’ Crime film, except for the fact that it’s a new movie that stars Alexandra Masangkay. If you’re not familiar with the name, she hails from Barcelona, and is the proud daughter of Filipino immigrants. In other words, while enjoying Spanish citizenship and being born there, both parents are Filipino.

Alexandra Masangkay in ‘Codigo: Emperador’

Alexandra Masangkay plays Wendy, a domestic who gets enmeshed in the machinations of the intelligence agent who sits in the center of the film. The agent is out to implicating Wendy’s employers in illegal arms transactions. And when that goes well, Wendy is ‘rescued’ and offered a life with the agent. But in the meantime, he’s given another assignment, one that has to do with bringing down a squeaky-clean politician. It’s here where the film goes off on a tangent, as given that there seems to be no whiff of real scandal, our ‘hero’ is asked to make the decision of whether he should fabricate the evidence and cross the line of principles and ethics. Ready to be bending the rules is the issue facing him, and the film chronicles this.