New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.
Samuel L. Jackson,
Based on the movies of the same name, John Shaft is a two-fisted black private eye along the lines of Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlowe. Each week presents a different case and a different ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Okay so there's a huge pile of films from the late 60's and early 70's that haven't worn well--- "Easyrider" leaps first to mind, but after seeing "Shaft" on TCM, we've got a new contender. I realize this is one that started the onslaught on our racial consciousness and while it's better than "Superfly," "The Mack," "Shaft in Africa," "Cleopatra Jones," et al, it's a shock to see how tacky things were 36 years ago. The hip lingo is horribly dated, the incessant reminders that us Caucasians are hopeless honkies is irritating and yeah, there's the wardrobe. I can't help it, it's distracting seeing middle aged guys wearing plaid suits with wide polyester ties (Starsky & Hutch fashion icon Antonio Fargas even has a cameo as a sidewalk informant) wearing laughable hats. Why did they have to throw in Shaft verschtionking a barfly when he's got a loyal (and far classier) woman back at the ranch? The plot is incredibly simplistic and is an ominous indicator of the even worse things to come in the Blaxploitation genre. Alright then, what's right? The late Gordon Parks could construct great complex exterior shots and draw out a fairly credible performance by the inexperienced Richard Roundtree. He could have been a whole lot worse. The best actor here is Moses Gunn (seen to better advantage in "Ragtime"). Ignoring Issac Hayes' title track lyrics that asks the rhetorical question, "who's the big Black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks?" (yeesh... but I'm just talking' about SHAFT!), the soundtrack is pretty decent. So there's a lot to be embarrassed about for those involved but there's also some redeeming qualities to the movie. I rate it a 3 for 10.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?