While this film does feature some rather interesting direction and a fairly engaging story, you cannot help but be mostly entertained by it's charming anachronisms. I mean where else are you going to find classic lines such as: "You got problems, baby?" "Hehe. Yeah, I got a couple of 'em. I was born black... and I was born poor."
This is a detective story that basically feels like a gritty 1970s take on a hardboiled film noir detective story, with a black guy as the lead instead of a white guy. It's got some modern touches (well, modern for the 1970s), but basically feels timeless with the general story at hand.
Gordon Parks, Sr. gives some top notch direction filled with grit, style, and flair. Richard Roundtree is great in the role that made his career, and of course, the music is nothing but badass. If you haven't seen this one yet, you really need to. It's a classic of it's genre, and just a classic film from its time.
Richard Roundtree rules. Not to even mention the Oscar winning theme from Issac Hayes.
Ay the start of a decade filled with cheap movies aimed at getting the black audience a product aimed at them in particular. Many of these were poor but Shaft stood out because it could have been a film in it's own right. The story is a normal detective movie with a black twist and that helps ? because it's not forced at all. The story is gritty and tough as befits the setting and the hero.
Shaft is tough but hadn't yet turned into 007 (as he did in Shaft's Big Score), this makes him tough but also keeps him down to earth. Roundtree handles himself sexily and looks great ? the film very much revolves around his performance and he holds the attention easily.
The film eventually gets into gun fights and an exciting conclusion but really this is all about mood and funk. And it delivers both.
"SHUT YER MOUTH!"
Worth a look.
so the next sequel with "shaft's big score!" and "shaft in africa" that richard roundtree did reprise again.