HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night, The
Show Goes On, The
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
   
 
  Shaft Shut Your Mouth!
Year: 2000
Director: John Singleton
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Busta Rhymes, Dan Hedaya, Toni Collette, Richard Roundtree, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Josef Sommer, Lynne Thigpen, Philip Bosco, Pat Hingle, Lee Tergesen, Daniel von Bargen
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) is a New York City cop who has been called out just before Christmas to this restaurant to investigate a serious assault. From what he can work out from asking his girlfriend, a black young man was out for a meal when a rich white boy noticed him and started calling out racist comments, seemingly because he didn’t think someone African-American should be there in the first place. The victim then cut a pair of eye holes in a white napkin and jokingly put it over the rich boy’s head, and everyone laughed: the joke was on him. But he didn’t think it was very funny, and Shaft works out this man is Walter Wade Jr (Christian Bale) who is an heir to a fortune. If only there had been a witness to the attack…

What was technically not a remake but the third sequel in the Shaft series was released well after the heyday of Blaxploitation, but the previous decade of the nineteen-nineties had seen much of the pop culture of the seventies become cool again after being laughed at in the eighties, so a revival of the franchise that kicked off the thrillers for black audiences genre was inevitable. The trouble was, by the time a troubled production, with nobody seeing eye to eye on what to do with the character, was finally released to cinemas, we were looking to a new millennium and the shine of the nineties, never mind the seventies, was beginning to tarnish. Not helping was the manner in which they turned it into a police procedural for most of the running time, which by then was pretty old hat.

At least in the movies, for a mostly middle-aged and older audience were lapping up that kind of thing on television every week, and the era when cops and detectives were heroes in blockbuster movies was drawing to a close in favour of superheroes and invincible action protagonists who pulled off the impossible to ramp up the “awesome” factor. This meant there wasn’t so much of a demand to see Jackson, who was regarded as overage, putting away bad guys in the sort of plot that could be disposed of within an hour of TV with commercials. That director John Singleton, who had made his name tackling racial issues, was seen as reduced to the mainstream like this also meant a suspicion about the project.

When Isaac Hayes' classic theme starts up over the opening titles, it’s difficult not to notice it was a rerecording courtesy of David Arnold’s orchestral score and not the original, which for many summed up the issues they had: Richard Roundtree may have reprised his signature role, but he was very much in support, and Jackson wasn’t quite the same kind of presence in movies, with a meaner streak to his characterisations that Roundtree didn’t have. Then there was the social side of things, as this mentioned race as a Singleton film in 2000 might have been expected to, but it was more interested in class and how the wealthy were crushing the poorer underfoot, witness Bale’s reprise of American Psycho as a racist buying his way out of a trial with daddy’s billions. Yet while this might have been seen as a sellout, and the stories of behind the scenes friction indicated an uncertainty with the material, there was a case after the fact that Shaft had been underrated.

It enjoyed a very strong cast, for a start: not just Jackson being the smartest guy in the room or Bale’s slimy bastardry, but Jeffrey Wright as Peoples Hernandez, a mumbling crime lord who manages to get his claws into Wade as a way of expanding his empire, all on the pretence of killing the witness to the murder two years ago. The witness was Diane, a convincingly vulnerable Toni Collette, and in contrast to her Vanessa Williams played a cop who proved female leads in action flicks didn’t need to get kidnapped to be useful to the plot (though she was sidelined too often). As far as the thriller, it had a very decent plot improving on the originals in a manner that updated without betraying them, and by all rights should have provided a strong basis for a franchise revival, but that was not to be, with middling profits and Jackson’s reluctance putting paid to more sequels. What did seem out of place was the hastily dropped sex machine to all the chicks part, it was weird to see Jackson essay the loverman role when we were so used to overgrown adolescents as the only ones quipping about sex onscreen come the 2000s, maybe more our fault than his. But overall, there was a lot to like aside from an ending that rendered the plot a waste of time.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1516 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: