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Shaft (2000)
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Review Date: June 18, 2000
Director: John Singleton
Writer: R. Price, J. Singleton, S. Salerno
Producers: Scott Rudin and John Singleton
Actors:
Samuel L. Jackson as John Shaft
Christian Bale as Walter Williams
Jeffrey Wright as Peoples Hernandez
Plot:
Detective John Shaft quits the police force after the system fails to put away a rich, white boy who committed a racially motivated murder. He decides to take the law into his own hands, roaming the streets of the city in search of his own brand of justice.
Critique:
Is this a "bad" movie? You bet it is! "Bad" in the good sense, of course. Take a hip character, a decent story line, a bit of violence, a bit of action, an awesome score and some great performances from Wright, Bale and the bad mutha himself, Sam Jackson, and enjoy this film as the gritty urban crime drama that it is. I just loved the whole mood of this flick, with its dark city shadows, its cool scene transitions, and its rapid pace, all of which switched my gear to "fun" about two minutes in. In fact, about halfway through the movie, I was already looking forward to sequels from the man, which would definitely be a welcome addition to the sorry ass state of black heroes in Hollywood today. Let's get Shaft to fly to Europe and kick some French ass or something! The possibilities are endless. And who better than Mr. Samuel L. Jackson in the lead role? Wow. If there ever was a role made for anyone, it is the role of Shaft made for Jackson. The wicked fu-manchu mustache, the slick clothes, the whole black Dirty Harry attitude, all seemed to fit Jackson like a tight, leather glove. In fact, it is his charismatic performance, along with those from Bale and Wright, which actually take this movie a couple of notches above its standard TV cop drama plot line.

Don't get me wrong, the story was actually pretty interesting, but not really anything to get worked up about. In fact, there were even a couple of plot holes which I let slide because of the whole kickass attitude of the film itself. I gotta give it to Singleton, who seemed to have been slacking according to crappy media reports from the set, he managed to create a fun, quick-paced film here, although more reminiscent of last year's PAYBACK (8/10) than the original SHAFT film. In fact, like most everyone who saw this flick, I was quite disappointed with the lack of girl-play for Shaft, and certainly would've appreciated more sexual innuendo and even more profanity. I mean, this is Shaft for God's sakes...the baddest mutha on the streets! Let him loose! But those are just little qualms within the bigger picture which truly did keep me entertained throughout. In fact, the performance from Jeffrey Wright alone is worth the price of admission. He pulls off one of the most over-the-top Tony Montana impressions since Pacino ate it up himself in 1983's SCARFACE. In fact, his character makes the Benicio Del Toro character from THE USUAL SUSPECTS actually sound coherent.

All in all, a fun reincarnation of a classic blaxploitation film whose funky, slick score is as big a part of the movie as the action itself. Now, shut yer mouth and go see this movie!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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