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Featured Movie Reviews

Shaft

Updated: Oct 25, 2023


One of the funniest and most enjoyable sequels/re-imaginings I've seen in recent years, SHAFT is a blast from the past.

Loaded with grin inducing references to all the earlier films, SHAFT kicks off with a couple decade flashback to Detective John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson having a very good time) and his wife Maya (Regina Hall) getting ambushed outside a bail bondsman's office. Bullets fly and mayhem reigns until we eventually realize that John Jr. is less than a year old in his car seat. The titles cleverly depict the next 20+ years, with 70's style titles and montages wordlessly depicting the years.

Then we meet John Jr, now an MIT grad and cocky new analyst at the FBI. Jr is well played by Jessie T. Usher (The Boys) as a preppy nerd with a lot of intel but zero swagger.

When the death of a friend points to a much bigger terrorist plot, John Jr goes to his Dad (Jackson) who he has never met, except through am amazingly clueless and hilarious series of Christmas gifts.

Watching Shaft, the old fashioned epitome of macho cool observing his son in action provides more laugh out loud moments than plenty of comedies I've seen lately.

It's a clever balance of nostalgia, tribute and send up that deftly merges comedy with action thriller.

The suspects get bigger, the crimes grow more large scale and soon Jr and John are turning to John Shaft Sr (Richard Roundtree, still effortlessly cool) for a whole lot of weaponry.

The final showdown is a blast, unloading a hail of bullets, heroics, testosterone and family bonding.

Kenya Barris (blackish) delivers plenty of great one-liners, conflict and violence, hearkening back to a MUCH less sensitive time when the world wasn't so anxious to be offended. It earns its R rating.

Maybe that's why the film bombed at the box office. It was probably too much for the more sensitive audiences of today waiting to be offended by EVERYTHING.

I loved it. Jackson's hilarious and Roundtree is fantastic. He's only in he last twenty minutes and he owns it.

I was staying at The Mondrian in NYC about 10 years ago, and was coming out of my room. At the same time, Richard Roundtree came out of the room next door. I nodded and said "John Shaft..." and he just turned with a smile and nodded "How ya doin, baby."

It was like Frank Sinatra tipping his hat to you. Roundtree WAS John Shaft cool in real life too. It remains one of my favorite celebrity encounters.

He's still the best.

I laughed from beginning to end, loved the references to the 70's originals and the way that Issac Hayes theme song wove into the background at all the right moments.

Ignore the box office. If you have fond memories of the previous films, check out SHAFT.

I loved it. They say that John Shaft is a bad...Shut yer mouth....he gets an enjoyable B!

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