HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Shaft Who's The Black Private Dick Who's A Bit Of A Dick?
Year: 2019
Director: Tim Story
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree, Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Matt Lauria, Titus Welliver, Method Man, Isaach De Bankolé, Avan Jogia, Luna Lauren Velez, Robbie Jones, Aaron Dominguez, Ian Casselberry, Almeera Jiwa, Amato D'Apolito
Genre: Comedy, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Back in 1989, private detective John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) found himself in Harlem, parked with his girlfriend Maya Babanikos (Regina Hall) who was haranguing him about his lifestyle which she was less than pleased with. However, just as she was in full flight, gunfire broke out as a gang of hoods shot at the car and Shaft drew his gun, picking off the assailants and saving Maya, though on demanding answers from one of the hitmen, he was the target. She had had enough, and told him she was leaving him, taking their baby son J.J. with her. The years passed and Shaft remembered his offspring enough to send him porn at Christmas, but that was their only contact for decades...

Until now! Whether the world really needed an update for Ernest Tidyman's classic character this far into the twenty-first century was debatable, and it appeared to have been aimed at the grumpy old men of society who fantasised about behaving like veteran cool dude Jackson did here, which meant walking in front of traffic, driving badly, insulting women and demeaning those so-called millennials who were apparently the cause of all the problems in the world with their pesky tolerance. Time was Shaft was called the "black James Bond", but here that meant the now-elderly hero was taking a page out of Roger Moore's book by going out with girls less than half his age.

So maybe it's appropriate this started in the eighties, but it did not stay there as we catch up with J.J., played by Jessie T. Usher. He was a likeable presence, and his character was designed that way, but being pleasant and easygoing in this atmosphere meant you were a "pussy" (an oft-repeated insult), so he had to be told to man up about fifty thousand times over the course of the movie. It was what you might call a running joke, but it did wear thin after about the fifth instance of J.J. being told he's too white or not masculine enough, masculine seeming to mean behaving like a entitled asshole twenty-four hours a day. The cure for this? Make sure Shaft Jr employs more violence.

Although J.J. claimed to hate guns, he naturally turns out to be an excellent shot when he does get a pistol in his hands, but this was an action comedy of an eighties stripe (rather than a seventies one, oddly) so that was par for the course. There was a mystery here for the three Shafts to solve, as one of J.J.'s pals dies of a supposed drug overdose but he digs deeper and finds a mobster-terrorist conspiracy is behind the death and sets about seeking justice. You would think his position as a cybercrime expert at the Bureau would give him the necessary connections to get the case reopened and uncover the scheming, but that would leave his dad with nothing to do, so for reasons that are difficult to discern as far as realistic character motivation went, he meets up with him for the first time in thirty years and asks him to investigate.

Cue a bunch of whingeing jokes that just stop short of Jackson doing a stand-up routine about avocados, but yes, I did say three Shafts were involved, and the original flavour Richard Roundtree was back too, here glossing over the claim he was playing the uncle in the 2000 version to say he was in fact Shaft's father. What with the middle Shaft being the world's worst parent short of actual abuse, maybe this was intended to have us realise where he got his poor fathering skills from, they do say these choices are passed down. But did J.J. really need a father figure like this one? A few of the jokes landed when the script got a brief grip on the potential for absurdity, but mostly it seemed they'd amassed a collection of gripes from internet comments boards and retooled them into dialogue. Jackson had his irascible image to uphold, of course, and while he may as well have phoned in this performance there was no denying the man's charisma, but here playing ten years younger than his actual age (so how old was Roundtree supposed to be, in his nineties?) this was ramshackle stuff. Oh, and Usher got to romance Alexandra Shipp, so predictably she wound up kidnapped by the bad guys - play the oldies, screenwriters. Music by Christopher Lennertz (with bursts of Isaac Hayes).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 620 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: