Shaft (2019)

Shaft – 9/10

Let me start off by saying that the announcement of a new Shaft movie completely took me by surprise. I came across the trailer a few months back and seeing that both Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree were returning was enough to get me excited.

The original Shaft movie came out in 1971 with Richard Roundtree playing the funky private detective John Shaft as he goes up against Harlem mobsters. It’s a classic movie made famous by it’s soul like music score by Isaac Hayes which includes a pretty spectacular main theme. Following the original was two sequels, Shaft’s Big Score and Shaft in Africa before it was partly remade in 2000 with Samuel L. Jackson taking on the role of the cool lawman. Fans of the original were not disappointed as Roundtree even reprised his role and being the uncle of the new Shaft.

Now that we’re up to date with the history of Shaft, let’s start talking about how great the latest title is.

The tone of the movie is established right form the very start where we see Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) bust up some goons whilst the classic Shaft theme plays during the 5 minute sequence. It’s enough to get you hooked and gives us a glimpse of what’s to come.

Ok so now to talk about Shaft (you mean we haven’t already?), The bad mother f****r Samuel L. Jackson delivers another fine performance mixing funny with being badass and he steals every scene he’s in. He is the man that would risk his neck for his brother. Well in this instance he’s risking his neck for his son who happens to be an FBI agent. Let’s not ignore the new comer that is Jessie Usher who plays JJ aka John Shaft III. The chemistry he has with his onscreen father makes for some great one liners and some entertaining moments.

I’m not even interested in the plot, there’s something about drug lords and the young Shaft’s friend being set up and then killed but the plot isn’t what makes it a good movie. It’s a predictable story for sure but Shaft is a complicated man and no one understands him but his woman. Speaking of woman, Regina Hall plays Maya, Shaft’s ex wife and the mother of JJ. There are some funny moments which involve her and her former man including a scene where Shaft happens to be in the same place whilst his former wife is on a date with someone else.

Let’s talk about the action sequences this movie has. There is a lot of gun fights and chases crammed into the 111 minute runtime and not one will disappoint. One scene in particular see’s Shaft swerve in on his classic Camaro car and open fire on a group of thugs that have taken his son hostage, it’s so well done and tells you everything you need to know about the character of Shaft. He’s a cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about.

The final act of the movie re-introduces us to Richard Roundtree who helps both Shaft’s in their mission to kill the drug lords. When this film was announced they revealed that Richard Roundtree was reprising his role and he would be the father of Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft but for those who have seen the 2000 release we all remember that he was Shaft’s uncle. Don’t worry there’s a brilliant line which settles that.

Overall, if you haven’t seen the film then what are you waiting for? I wasn’t expecting anything special but it’s certainly up there with one of the best movies I have seen in recent years. From the action scenes, to the humour, to the soundtrack everything you want in a movie Shaft delivers. I enjoyed it so much that I went and watched the 2000 release which I’d never seen before and also thought that was a great watch. Shaft comes in as one of the best releases of 2019 as it brings out the class of the original movie and puts it into the modern age.

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