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,
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Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head. Both are annoyed at the success of the Reverend Deke O'Mailey who is selling trips ... See full summary »
Raymond St. Jacques,
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>
Was rumored to be written as just another detective movie, with a white detective in the lead, but, after the success of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), the film was rewritten and recast as a blaxploitation movie. This story has been told several times by director Melvin Van Peebles. However, it is probably apocryphal. The Ernest Tidyman novel which was the basis for the film is about a black detective and not a white one. See more »
When Shaft pushes one of Bumpy's goons into his office, the sound of glass breaking is heard, but the glass window in the office door is clearly undamaged until a short time later. See more »
[holding up his middle finger to a cab driver who is honking his horn at him]
Up yours! Get out the way!
See more »
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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