Director: Tim Story
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Regina Hall, Richard Roundtree, Alexandra Shipp
Another couple of decades and it’s another Shaft movie.
1971’s Richard Roundtree led original is lauded as a 1970’s Blaxploitation classic, though I’d argue Isaac Hayes’ funky soundtrack is better than the movie, and since then Samuel L. Jackson has stepped into the shoes in 2000 and now it’s the turn of Jessie T. Usher to take on the family name and fight crime. This time, however, the Shaft in question is an FBI analyst and a pacifist – he’s not into guns or violence. When things go south and one of his friends gets murdered, he calls on the old guard to help and they bring…guns and violence.
This Shaft brings plenty of the above and also plenty of laughs…for people of a certain mind. For this iteration is as regressive as they come. The Shaft’s themselves are all dicks and interested in two things – causing trouble and sex with any woman that stumbles into their way. Now, you may say, what do I want from a Shaft movie? The same as I want from any other movie, not to be beaten around the head with stupidity which is what I felt for a vast majority of this movie. Look, Jackson – playing John again - remains cool even in this douchiest of roles, Usher – as JJ - is a promising star in the making and there are some decent action set-pieces but most of Shaft feels grubby and not entirely fun to watch. Regina Hall is in the movie too which is a massive shame as she is far too good for this drivel though she gets the chance to be ogled and lusted over like the other women on show. Even JJ’s girlfriend, Alexandra Shipp, is reduced to a slobbering oaf when she sees her man finally pick up a gun in anger. It’s that kind of movie.
The characters themselves aren’t worth following and the writing isn’t much better. The gags are lame and every other word is a profanity, sometimes with an ‘amusing’ slant attached to it. This wouldn’t matter if the story itself was good but it’s just so middling and mundane that there isn’t much to cling onto here. The messages are bad and the movie is bad. It’s plain and clear why the studio dumped this on Netflix internationally.
June 18th 2019