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>
Shaft is seen reading a copy of Essence Magazine in his girlfriend's apartment. Parks is a co-founder of Essence. The magazine is spotted when Shaft is engaging in a conversation with a blind newsstand vendor during the opening sequence. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, in Shaft's office, Shaft changes back and forth between a lighter brown coat and a dark coat. The difference can be seen by noticing the horizontal seam on the back of each coat, one is straight and the other is not. See more »
[holding up his middle finger to a cab driver who is honking his horn at him]
Up yours! Get out the way!
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John Shaft is a private detective in Harlem. He is hired by pimp and drug dealer Bumpy Jonas to find Bumpy's daughter who has been kidnapped by an unknown party. Shaft investigates the local Panther organisation but ultimately finds that an Italian mob is trying to move in on Bumpy's territory. With all parties at conflict Shaft must keep his cool to get the girl back.
Ay the start of a decade filled with cheap movies aimed at getting the black audience a product aimed at them in particular. Many of these were poor but Shaft stood out because it could have been a film in it's own right. The story is a normal detective movie with a black twist and that helps because it's not forced at all. The story is gritty and tough as befits the setting and the hero.
Shaft is tough but hadn't yet turned into 007 (as he did in Shaft's Big Score), this makes him tough but also keeps him down to earth. Roundtree handles himself sexily and looks great the film very much revolves around his performance and he holds the attention easily.
The film eventually gets into gun fights and an exciting conclusion but really this is all about mood and funk. And it delivers both.
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