*. Hm. A movie named Shaft that’s a sequel, of sorts, to a movie named Shaft (2000). Which was a sequel, of sorts, to a movie named Shaft (1971). Somebody could have made this easier.
*. This edition of Shaft was panned by reviewers and did lousy box office. The critical response at least was something the producers should have seen coming. This is not a politically correct film.
*. Shaft, played by 70-year-old Samuel L. Jackson (only six years younger than Richard Roundtree, who plays his father), is old school. The movie plays like an Austin Powers flick, except that instead of being a holdover from the swinging ’60s Shaft is a holdover from Harlem in the ’80s. Which was a time, apparently, when men were men and women were pussy.
*. A lot of your response to this Shaft will depend on how seriously you think it wants you to take it. Personally, I thought the whole thing was meant as a joke, and while I didn’t laugh very much I wasn’t offended either. It’s just that the humour here gets repetitive, forever playing its one joke about what it meant to be a man then vs. what it means to be a man now.
*. The problem I had with Shaft wasn’t with the jokes (or joke) but with the weakness of the plot. There’s a multi-ethnic gang of drug smugglers who kidnap John Jr.’s girlfriend, so the three generations of the Shaft family team up to get her back. There are some gun fights, and a lot of buddy-picture banter between John Jr. (Jessie T. Usher) and his dad. They get the girlfriend back. The family comes together. And if it had done better there’d probably be a sequel out by now.
*. This just isn’t an interesting movie, or one that requires any attention to be paid to it at all. Apparently Shaft has issues with the drug kingpin from back in the day, but it’s hard to feel very involved in any of this. Or feel much of anything toward any of the villains. I can’t remember the last time I watched a crime flick that seemed less interested in the nuts and bolts of the story it was telling. Basically the whole thing consists of waiting for Jackson to say some more bad-ass shit. Now you never have to wait long for such shit to arrive, and there’s probably no other actor alive as good at saying bad-ass shit as Samuel L. Jackson, but it’s hard to base an entire movie on this.