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John Shaft is the ultimate in suave black detectives. He first finds himself up against Bumpy, the leader of the Black crime mob, then against Black nationals, and finally working with both against the White Mafia who are trying to blackmail Bumpy by kidnapping his daughter. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Blaxploitation at it's best. A simple story with a twist done right. That is Shaft. The concept of a black man as a cool ultra slick, lady lovin' private detective. For once in the world of cinema the black man was tops and unlike other genre entries this one clicked with people of both colors. They had created a solid character in John Shaft that the population took a shinning to. For once it wasn't something exploitative being sold to a one-sided market audience exclusively.
But look I'm getting sidetracked. Shaft isn't this huge epic struggle of the black man through the generations. It's a solid, satisfying picture that gets by on pure character. Shaft. The black private detective has endlessly been imitated, but never duplicated since. With much of the character's success having to be attributable to Richard Roundtree, a perfect fit for the material. He wasn't so much playing a character named John Shaft, but rather he was John Shaft. Perhaps to the detriment of his career, I still can't watch a movie with Richard Roundtree in it without thinking of Shaft. The plot is on auto pilot - you've seen it before - maybe even done better - but this movie has Shaft and that's all there is to say.
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