Good Movie! This version is a lot more violent than the original, it didn't seem to be in Shaft's style. The pacing and editing in the first half of the movie were fast and smooth. John Singleton did a great job in establishing Shaft's character and the plot. During the second half of the movie, however, the movie starts to lose it's original slickness. Samuel L. Jackson is truly a great Shaft, he's probably the only actor out there who could pull this off, and he does an excellent job. Don't expect deathless art here but do expect to be entertained. It's one of those movies that is so politically incorrect it makes you gasp while you are laughing. There are lots of explosions, gore, and chases, both afoot and in cars, and it all happens in little more than 90 minutes. It's a lot of fun, highly recommended.
Cool and deadly NYPD detective John Shaft arrests Walter Wade, Jr. in a racially-motivated slaying. The eye witness disappears, Wade jumps bail for Switzerland, and Shaft is livid. Two years later, Wade returns to face trial, confident his father's money and influence (and racial politics) guarantee an innocent verdict. Shaft looks hard for the witness, so Wade wants someone to kill her. He turns to a ghetto drug king, Peoples Hernandez, who's willing to kill for money, use Wade as a route to rich drug customers, and shaft Shaft. Can Shaft find the witness, convince her to testify, and shepherd her through the hail of bullets that Peoples is sure to let fly?
Samuel L. Jackson is perfectly cast a John Shaft- a tough NYC homicide detective who is the nephew of the John Shaft from the original series. The plot (and there's a lot of it, surprisingly), follows Shaft as he investigates a racially motivated murder at the hands of Walter Wade, Jr.- a racist, sociopath son of a construction tycoon. Wade flees the country after making bail, but return two years later to find and kill the only witness to the crime. Shaft makes it his personal mission to bring Wade down, using whatever means necessary. It sounds simple, but I'm excluding some of the details which involve corruption, a Dominican drug lord, and that sort of thing.
For what should be a relatively simple and straightforward exploitation film, this one has a lot, perhaps too much going on. I liked that they tried to be ambitious, but it wasn't really necessary. And counter to the films it is an homage to, there's little in the way of meaningful subtext and depth, though it does touch upon some stuff a bit.
The film has some decent action, doesn't tarnish the legacy its tapping into, and has some solid performances as well. I don't really get the hate, but I guess it would have to do with being rather unoriginal and having some big shoes to fill.
For what it is, the film is fine. Yeah, it's not perfect, but it's entertaining enough. Jackson is perfectly cast, even if he arguably gives a performance that isn't all that different from many of his other roles, Bale gives a passable, though shallow performance as Wade, Jr., and there's lots of notable people thrown in the mix as well, including cameos from Richard Roundtree and Gordon Parks, Sr. It is odd that Jeffrey Wright is cast as the Dominican, and his performance is odd, but that may be the only thing about this that really actually bothers me.
Give this one a chance. It's really not a bad film at all. Plus, the music is just a nice little topping to this cinematic dessert.
Luger: And your problem is, what?
John Shaft: Nazis with badges. That's my problem.
Luger: [laughs] "Nazis"? You gotta lighten up, Shaft. I talk like this all the time... but I see your point. Maybe I should take an "ethnic sensitivity" workshop, huh? Fuck you.
John Shaft: Maybe I should "workshop" my foot up your ass!
Samuel L. Jackson as the new shaft, probably one of the easiest choices ever made.
Basically Sam Jackson shows up on set, is given a gun and a badge, and walks around acting cool for an hour and a half, that's his role.
Then you also have Christian Bale and Jeffrey Wright as a couple of sinister villains, doing very good jobs in a movie that they doesn't need the caliber performances they give.
John Singleton seems like a logical choice to direct a remake of shaft, unless you wanna play the Spike Lee card...hmm, I wonder...
Anyway, the plot involves a murder, skipping bail, finding a witness, Busta Rhymes cracking jokes, cool music, especially Isaac Hayes, some gun play, and Sam Jackson saying motherfucker. It's a fun good time.
Peoples Hernandez: You are not a cop anymore.
John Shaft: Do you think that makes me less dangerous or more dangerous?