Shaft - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shaft Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 3, 2010
Still the man, any questions?

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?
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2007
This spin off of the classic 70s blaxploitation series is an unfortunately maligned and under appreciated gem.

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.
Super Reviewer
August 7, 2009
Shaft is who SLJ plays in every movie. He is a constant badass in most of his films. I won't say it's a problem. I mean why fix what isn't broken right? He's good at playing these characters. They suit him well. I didn't love the movie. I thought it was kind of cheesy at times. But the action was OK and the acting wasn't too bad. It reminded me of a movie that would have went straight to DVD. I just wasn't impressed and it's not something I would see again.
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2011
Shaft is an unimpressive action film that is loosely based on the classic of the same name. I found it quite bad. Shaft didn't thrill me, and frankly, I was disappointed. I felt that the film could have been much better, and that it didn't anything to really entertain you. The thing is, Shaft has a poorly constructed script that is overly vulgar, and relies on that to try and entertain the viewer. Shaft is a pretty bland film and uses cliché upon cliché to create its story. Shaft doesn't differ from other cop films, and offers nothing new to the genre. The film is mediocre that really isn't entertaining. The cast is awful, and they don't do anything that elevates this film into being something really entertaining. The film is dull, boring and unimpressive. Shaft relies on its profanity to be "entertaining", unfortunately, it isn't entertaining. Shaft is a boring action film that is unimpressive to watch and frankly is a waste of time. I did not enjoy this film, and I thought that it was a missed opportunity to do something interesting. This is yet another remake that fails to capture the thrills of the original. The films flaws lies within a poorly written script, a bad cast and overall poor directing. Shaft is a mediocre film that misses the mark, and is definitely not everyone's cup of tea. The film is poorly conceived, and doesn't capture the elements which the original film a good, entertaining viewing experience. This remake fails to entertain and is marred with a bad script that is the film fatal flaw.
Super Reviewer
½ April 29, 2007
Renegade tough guy cop John Shaft sets his sights on an over-privileged racist who murdered an innocent man and skipped bail using his father's influence. The hardest thing to swallow about this film is a bald Shaft, and to be honest it seems like a bit of a cheek to use the name and Isaac Hayes' classic theme tune for what is essentially just another generic cop thriller. However, because of a nice homage to classic Blaxploitation soundtracks and a charismatic performance by SLJ who gamely kicks the ass of racist assholes and smart mouthed gangstas alike, Singleton manages to emulate the flavour of a 70s cop show just enough to make the first half of the film fairly enjoyable. Unfortunately by the end Busta Rhymes and Jeffrey Wright, who are both awful, are afforded far too much screen time and the plot reveals itself to be total garbage. It has enough in the way of decent moments to make it worth watching once, but I certainly wouldn't bother sitting through it a second time.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2010
Blows Shaft.
Super Reviewer
½ May 26, 2010
An utterly terrible movie that deserves absolutely no praise or acclimation. While it works as a comedy it plays out as a police thriller which ultimately destroyed any credibly this movie could have had.The only reason to see this is to whiteness Christian Bale as the ultimate yuppie.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2007
This is a fun cop movie, even for a remake.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2009
A fun homage to black sploitation films of the 70s. Samuel L. Jackson did a great job and fit the role of John Shaft perfectly. Christian Bale was also quite good as a slimy over privileged villain.
Super Reviewer
½ April 17, 2009
An enjoyable but nevertheless quite silly and average remake of the classic television show has the new John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) beating up a white racist (Christian Bale) and getting booted off of the police force. Everyone in this film is a racist - primarily the whites - and this whole idea is way too forced. The language and violence is rough, yet the film itself is quite goofy, with not many good scenes and only a few mediocre action sequences. The moral is somewhat depressing: if someone wrongs you, or someone of your race, then beat them up and kill them once they reappear. Richard Roundtree's cameo helps a bit, but regardless, this SHAFT is still only "good" at best.
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2009
This film had really good prospects having Samuel L Jackson and Christian Bale but it didn't really happen. I mean it was good! It had some really great parts but there wasn't relly anything to set it apart from other action movies. Jackson was great though and I really hated Bales character. Good acting.
Super Reviewer
February 7, 2007
This remake of the 1971 blaxploitation fave is like stretching the overwrought climex of New Jack City to feature length. The cast is strong, and director-co-scripter John Singleton concludes his tale with an unexpected moment of cynicism. Even given all these dynamic elements, you would not be able to take your eyes off Samuel L. Jackson.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2007
Okay, nothing special
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
Love the music and Samuel is so cool.
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2007
John Shaft: Yo, Luger, what's up with the "cornbread" talk, man?
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?
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2007
This movie was a ton of fun. Very underrated.
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2007
A kick butt take on the old Shaft movies. No one could have pulled it off better than Sam.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2007
he shoots people, people die, he shoots more people
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2006
If nothing else, Christian Bale and Toni Collette are in it. And Shaft doesn't even get laid! What the hell is that?
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ February 23, 2006
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Frequency - Okay, I'll make a confession here. I could've been at the national premier for this but decided not to because the premise and especially the trailer put me off so much, I was being very prejudiced. Now that I bit the bullet and ponied up to see the thing I'm so ashamed for those same prejudices. 'Frequency' is a very creative film with some rather touching father-son moments of its own. Director Gregory Hoblit has swiftly directed the film and rescues it when it has the idea of a father/son team up in two different times to track down a serial killer. What you think should veer into cheap mellodrama or gimmick stays true through the course. 'Frequency' is a light-hearted, sentimental, yet engagaing and worthwhile film I'm very glad to have seen.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: B+[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Shaft - Smauel L. Jackson takes on director John Singleton's remake - shut you mouth! I mean newer Shaft (c'mon, kill me) and spins it with effortless style and some surprising scenes of wit and even suspense. 'Shaft' used to be a landmark in cinema, and for the black community as well, as it went full forward smashing taboos. It was more of a statement than good art because it wasn't really art (the character in the novel was white, by the way). Jackson's Shaft is more of a thug then the kindler gentler lady pleasure that was Richard Roundtree. This 'Shaft' is never once preocupied with being any landmark but doesn't strive to be anything more then entertaining fun. The story is what surprised me most, it actually had interesting people and a well told tale. Taking a cue from the Batman franchise the villains are far more interetsing and illuminous then anyone else, and Christian Bale and a star-making performance by the always talented Jeffrey Wright end up making each of them a wonder on screen. Their chemistry together is worth the price of admission alone, even if you are tired of Bale playing white-collar pretty boys now (he still murders in each though!). 'Shaft' is a loud and fast breath of summer but it's one that surprising and very entertaining.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: B[/color][/font]
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