I actually cringed when I saw the trailer to this movie. It didn't show much except shot after shot of Samuel L. Jackson removing his designer sunglasses and staring at the camera. I thought it had the potential to be awful. I was very wrong. The movie is not without plot holes and implausibility, but it still works thanks to great acting and solid direction. John Singleton takes on a genre film with this almost-sequel to the famous blaxploitation series of the 1970s. Jackson plays John Shaft--nephew of the original Shaft who appears here as the wise old uncle. It's Richard Roundtree himself doing the honors, getting screen time in a theatrical release for the first time in decades. The story concerns a cold murder of a young black man by rich and twisted Walter Wade, son of wealthy New York society. Christian Bale comes right off the set of American Pyscho and plays the demented Wade with a more outwardly tough guy persona. Think Bateman and the Preppie Murderer, and you...
I have to say this movie isn't that big on plot. Its ok but thats not the high point of the film. Its pretty fun to watch Samuel L. Jackson go around in his suave stylish ways and fight crime in New York City. Jackson plays John Shaft, the nephew of the original John Shaft played but the man himself Richard Roundtree. Shaft is trying to get a man who two years ago killed another man over a racial issue into jail for good. All in all the plot is average but its just fun to sit and watch the fun. You don't have to see or even like the original Shaft movies which I haven't seen to see this. Jackson is great as Shaft. Isaac Hayes' theme is great, this time its redone. The dvd is half decent, it has the Shaft theme music video, a half decent featurette and some other features like cast interviews, a trailer, and other music videos. Rated R for violence, profanity, some nudity, and sexual innuendo.
I grew up in the East Bay in the 70s, oftentimes hanging in neighborhoods where I was one of the few white kids around. This was the era of Black Power, and I saw and spoke to Panthers & members of the Nation of Islam on a daily basis. I also saw all the floppy-hatted pimps in their gangster rides, and had the same run-ins with the dealers and gangs that my black friends did (though undoubtedly aggravated by the fact that I stood out from the rest like a red-headed, freckle-faced, blue-eyed thumb).
When my friends & I went to the movies, it wasn't 'The Sound of Music' that was showing. It was 'Across 110th Street,' or 'Three the Hard Way.' The Man was always white, and the Brothers always came from behind to get over. Perhaps it was a little schizophrenic, but I always loved watching those blaxpoitation classics as a kid. Even now, when I see their (rare) appearance on a video store shelf on on a late night cable listing, I feel a warm sense of nostalgia. Those movies...
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