Shaft Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 22, 2012
This was my first foray into the world of blaxploitation and boy was it an interesting experience. I can see why it was well received in it's day by both black and white viewers. Not only does it fulfill every preconceived notion that potential white viewers may have had about African-Americans, but it also is a movie very focused on blackness. Hell, in one scene Shaft's coffee isn't even black enough for him. It is infuriatingly stereotypical and empowering all at the same time.
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."
Super Reviewer
May 17, 2007
Private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime boss to find his kidnapped daughter and gets caught up in a war between Harlem gangsters and the mafia. Shaft is the original "Blaxploitation" film, but as is always the case with progenitors of an entire genre it is actually rather tamer than you'd expect. It's certainly an exploitation film, but the violence never crosses the line into excess and Shaft is shown to be a tolerant and fair-minded man (no signs of the appalling sexism and homophobia that went on the taint this type of film). It's no surprise that Richard Roundtree was an icon to young black men in these post civil rights movement years; he is tough, stylish and never without the attention of women or money but more importantly, he is totally self-assured, fearless and not only doesn't take any shit from "the man", he is accepted and respected by all concerned. Taken out of context, it's a fairly standard 70s detective story, the real reason it stood out from the crowd being the fact that all of the heroes are black and Isaac Hayes' classic soundtrack. The humour is a little weak and lowbrow and there are a couple of hilariously pointless love scenes but as a whole it's a stylish and efficient thriller that is no world changer, but never disappoints either.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
This is the first blaxploitation movie I saw, and it's my favourite. This movie is action packed and has a great story. Shaft really is cool.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2008
This movie is awesome. It's far less action packed than I thought it would be, and also contained a lot more tropes and elements of later blaxploitation ilms (cliches, stereotypes, etc) than I expected, but that's okay.

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.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2010
Gosh, what a great soundtrack. Isaac Hayes manages to produce some pretty wicked funk that still incorporates elements of the traditional orchestral soundtrack AND gives us what is possibly the most iconic song of the seventies: the "Theme From Shaft". He's a complicated man, but no one understands him but his woman.... I hear that Shaft is a bad mother- shut your mouth! I'm just talkin' bout Shaft... Theme song aside, Shaft just isn't a very good movie. The story involves a black mob boss who's daughter has been kidnapped by a white mob boss, and he hires Shaft to get her back. The main things about Shaft is, he doesn't take no guff from whitey. When a white criminal spits in his face, he bashes him over the head with a whiskey bottle. He somewhat deals somewhat less severely with the white guy who calls him "boy", and likewise sticks up for himself when the police start to get patronizing and/or bullying. All this isn't nearly as shocking in 2010 as it probably was in 1971, and minus the shock factor, we're left with a pretty bland crime story. The quality of the story and film and the level of acting all suggest a less interesting episode of the A-Team than anything (although I really enjoyed looking at the early 70s New York City locations). I realize this is B- movie "blaxploitation", and maybe you have to be in a certain mood to appreciate it, but, outside of a few comedically dramatic scenes, I found the whole movie to be extraordinarily dull and low on entertainment factor. It may have been revolutionary and the first-of-it's-kind, but what it's originating isn't terribly interesting to me.
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2007
The original. Nothing like it.
Richard Roundtree rules. Not to even mention the Oscar winning theme from Issac Hayes.
Super Reviewer
April 17, 2009
John Shaft is a private detective in Harlem. He is hired by pimp and drug dealer Bumpy Jonas to find Bumpy's daughter who has been kidnapped by an unknown party. Shaft investigates the local Panther organisation but ultimately finds that an Italian mob is trying to move in on Bumpy's territory. With all parties at conflict Shaft must keep his cool to get the girl back.

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.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2008
Along with Superfly, top Blaxpoitation films, memorable lines for days.
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2007
What makes Shaft impressive isn't the mere stylization of the blaxploitation era it depicts. Rather, the movie is actually a bona-fide private-eye flick, with serious attempts at portrayals of race-relations in New York. The lack of thoughtless stereotyping manages to elevate this movie past it's blaxploitation roots.
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2006
One of the best movies from the 70s.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2011
I understand that this is regarded as a classic blaxploitation, and I respect it for that, but I felt that it was all over the place, switching between plots every ten minutes. By the end, I wasn't really sure what to make of it. One thing about it that was great, and I'm sure everyone else will agree, was the score set by Issac Hayes. Now, that's a classic soundtrack.
Super Reviewer
August 30, 2009
Top film. Richard Rountree as Humphrey Bogart, PI, quick with the retorts and a hit with the ladeeze. Classic Isaac Hayes score. .
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2011
I understand that this is regarded as a classic blaxploitation, and I respect it for that, but I felt that it was all over the place, switching between plots every ten minutes. By the end, I wasn't really sure what to make of it. One thing about it that was great, and I'm sure everyone else will agree, was the score set by Issac Hayes. Now, that's a classic soundtrack.
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2010
"They say this cat Shaft is a baaaad muther..."

March 4, 2013
"Shaft" really is one bad mother. Gordon Parks directs this badass movie starring Richard Roundtree as the black Private Dick who is a sex machine to all the chicks. As a Private Eye/Detective/Action/Thriller film, it is fairly solid on it's own, not nearly as over the top and campy as some blaxploitation films, which is part of what sets the film apart from so many others of the time, but obviously what set "Shaft" apart from all the other private eye pictures that came before was the very fact that he was a black guy who didn't take shit from anyone and didn't just do what any white guy told him too. Unlike other blaxploitation films of the day it also managed to not just demonize white folks, as a result it comes off more realistic. The film has definitely stood the test of time despite being very much of it's day. It is a great film, lots of fun.
½ April 28, 2007
This is definitely an interesting film, if only to catch the origins of all those different lines that I've heard quoted and parodied for the past 20 years, but honestly there's a ton of other Blaxploitation films that I've liked better than this one. I'm not sure if that's blasphemous, but there you go. And that's not to say that I don't enjoy this film, it's just not in my top five for the genre, y'know?

Worth a look.
April 16, 2009
richard roundtree as john shaft is the most kick ass and the funniest character and also the very tough private detective man. great film and good of the blaxploitation movie. i did enjoying this movie of course and richard roundtree did greatest role character in the movie.

so the next sequel with "shaft's big score!" and "shaft in africa" that richard roundtree did reprise again.
February 27, 2009
If this was based on a real life character,I would believe it. I think Shaft was my first superhero I saw on cable when I was a boy.
½ May 3, 2007
The music of Issac Hayes a.k.a Black Moses and the original "black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks...SHAFT...You DAMN right>>>Starring richard Roundtree
December 8, 2006
Yeah Shaft was one bad dude and this movie shows him in all his royal badness...and of course the musical numbers by Isaac Hayes are awesome...
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