HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  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 3422 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
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: