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.
Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
Cool and deadly NYPD detective John Shaft arrests Walter Wade, Jr. in a racially-motivated slaying. The eye witness disappears, Wade jumps bail for Switzerland, and Shaft is livid. Two years later, Wade returns to face trial, confident his father's money and influence (and racial politics) guarantee an innocent verdict. Shaft looks hard for the witness, so Wade wants someone to kill her. He turns to a ghetto drug king, Peoples Hernandez, who's willing to kill for money, use Wade as a route to rich drug customers, and shaft Shaft. Can Shaft find the witness, convince her to testify, and shepherd her through the hail of bullets that Peoples is sure to let fly? Written by
John Singleton's original idea was for the main character to be the son of John Shaft and that the two Shafts would work together. But no studio was willing to finance the project. Paramount producer Scott Rudin demanded the character to be changed to be Shaft's nephew and for Richard Roundtree's participation to be reduced. See more »
In the scene where Jimmy and Jack ambush Shaft, there is a shot where Carmen raises her gun and aims it at Jimmy's head. His left shoulder is clearly visible as he stands infront of her. Carmen shoots him in the head and his shoulder is still visible as she lowers her gun. In he very next shot he is slumped against the wall dead. See more »
Thirty years is a long time to wait to make a sequel, especially when no one is clamoring for one. Director/Writer/Producer John Singleton decided it was about time. The result is a solid, but undistinguished crime drama. The elements of this story have been told so many times that they are becoming hackneyed. A tough, no-nonsense cop fights evil and corruption to bring justice to the streets while often disregarding the law. A spoiled rich kid is trying to get away with murder by hiring a drug dealer to snuff an eyewitness with the help of a couple of dirty cops. This is not vanguard material.
Singleton's direction is good in the action sequences (of which there are plenty) and adequate in the dramatic scenes. In this film, he doesn't bring much innovation to the screen, with very straightforward shots and mundane locations. In an overly reverent gesture to the original film, he brings back Richard Roundtree (the original Shaft) as the current Shaft's (Samuel L. Jackson) uncle and mentor. There is also a cameo appearance by Gordon Parks, the director of the original, and of course, Isaac Hayes theme song is back.
The film is elevated from mediocrity by the acting. Samuel L. Jackson is an outstanding actor and slips on the character of this tough, streetwise cop like a tailored glove. When he's bad, he's very very bad and when he is good, he's almost saintly. Christian Bale also gives a fine performance as the despicable rich kid who thinks his wealth puts him above the law. Jeffrey Wright is explosive as the egomaniac drug lord. The supporting actors are also excellent.
This is an entertaining film despite its lack of originality. I rated it a 7/10. Action junkies add a point or two. This film is extremely violent with a high body count.
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