Shaft (2000)

The 70s was an interesting time for pop-culture, gritty crimes and funky groves made the period of cheap action iconic for people who lived through the decade and those who did not. One of the most iconic is the African American private detective John Shaft, whose exploits and catchy theme earned him acclaim to this day. In the year 2000, as so many people were getting back into the past to face the new millennium, this introspection was the opportune time to return of the man who “won’t cop out when there’s danger all about?” that’s right John Shaft.

Who is the private dick that wants you to say what again? Shaft!

When the spoiled son of property developer Wade re-enters America after fleeing a murder charge, he is incarcerated for skipping bail, inside he meets criminal, Peoples Hernandez, and hires him to silence the only witness. But when the racially motivated attacker gets bail once again for the homicide, the sight of this injustice causes Shack Jr. to throw in his badge… literally. Now Shaft must team up with his Uncle, the original John Shaft to ensure justice is done.

Peoples Hernandez is a welcome breath of fresh air from the serious roles I associate Jeffery Wright with.

Samuel L Jackson is a strong choice to take on the mantle of Shaft for the 21st century. His ability to blend seamlessly between making you laugh and dolling out justice liberally. He is joined by cocky Jeffery Wright who feels as though he’s oceans apart from the collected Bernard from Westworld and the manic murdering drug baron Peoples Hernandez. Rich kid Wade Jr. is also played by Christian Bale shows the arrogant cockiness that made him the ideal choice for Patrick Bateman. The classic Isaac Hayes theme song also returns with some contemporary flourishes and is a welcome addition to the proceedings.

The face of a man who clearly has to return some videotapes.

The film’s setting in the very early 2000s helps as it was a period where retro was coming back into fashion. With other 70s properties coming back (see Charlie’s Angels) and the resurgence of leather jackets gives this film a paradoxically a retro and contemporary look. Bringing back the original Shaft was a nice touch; I must admit the previous Shaft movies are a bit of a blind spot for me, yet based on his performance, I can see the appeal of the guy. His mentor/mentored relationship/chemistry with Jackson is also thoroughly enjoyable and seeing the two both spar and debate.

The only downside is there isn’t more time of the two Shafts together.

With its finger on issues that still feel prominent to this day, a sense of panache that marries both the 70s and the early 2000s, Shaft is a captivating tale of injustice and funky attitude that can be enjoyed by fans of the franchise, fans of the stellar cast, and anybody who is unfamiliar with the two. As season come and fashions change, The Shaft reboot shows that some things never went out of style.

Shaft’s tone is perfectly encapsulated as Samuel L. Jackson.

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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