Just as the first vampire who will come to mind when asked will be Dracula, when quizzed to name a vampire hunter, it’s likely to be Van Helsing; they’ve had a symbiotic relationship ever since the pair appeared together on the pages of Bram Stoker’s seminal Dracula, first published in 1897.
And although Van Helsing has often appeared on screen with his blood-sucking foe, and even headlining his own feature, vampire hunters rarely get their time in the limelight – daylight sure, but limelight, not so much.
In a rare attempt to redress the balance is this action comedy starring Jamie Foxx.
Working hard as the sole owner of Valley Pool Services is Bud Jablonski (Foxx). Or at least that’s what his family think he does; it’s actually a cover for his real job as a vampire hunter, that are apparently still rife, particularly in the valley.
When things start to get tough at home, which finds him living in a motel on his own and bills for his young daughter’s schooling hitting hard, Budd has to work twice as hard on the hunting front.
The problem is, as he’s no longer a member of the union, local 8711, he’s not getting nearly as much for the valuable vampire teeth he procures, than he should be, with the union paying considerably more.
But close friend and union member Big John (Snoop Dogg) does him a solid and has a sit down meeting with the union boss, who begrudgingly allows him back but on two conditions: it’s on a probation basis, and he has to be shadowed by the desk jockey Seth (Dave Franco), to make sure that he does everything by the book this time.
Bud agrees, and everything appears to be on the up and up, until he kills an old vampire, whose realtive is understandably pissed about it. It just so happens that she’s also the head vampire in a growing group who intend to teach humans a lesson once more, and it looks like her next ‘student’ is going to be Bud, and his family.
The fact that the majority of this Netflix film takes place during the day, it’s a vampire flick that’s unusually bright and breezy, visually at least.
But just as garlic can be detrimental to a vampire, this film’s equivalent is its script. It’s far too dry, despite its many attempts not to be. It wants to be a mix of From Dusk Till Dawn with the Lethal Weapon films, but in this case, the result is like trying to mix oil with holy water.
Perhaps the reason for its poor quality is down to J.J. Perry, making his directorial debut. He’s yet another example of a stunt man moving to behind the camera, with the result being not so great.
The story is really weak, relying on the tried and tested crux of a family man’s wife and child being in peril, that simply doesn’t have enough flesh on its bones.
At least the fighting scenes are fun, as you would expect/hope, although the driving scenes are sadly on the limp side, considering the director’s previous work.
It’s a project that comes across as being a little bit too big for a first time director, coming from a stunt background, as it reeks of a lack of experience throughout and that he was clearly over his head.
Foxx does his best, considering the limited material at his disposal, but frankly, he deserves better. He’s a hugely talented individual, who should be getting scripts that harness his impressive abilities. And this ain’t it.
It has the kind of ending that lends itself to the start of a franchise, but really, it’s just kidding itself, as this feature sadly shows it lacks that necessary bite.