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.



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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 »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carla Howard
Walter Wade, Sr.
Hon. Dennis Bradford
Lt. Kearney (as Daniel Von Bargen)


New York Police Detective John Shaft is the lead detective on a sensitive case, a young black man is severely beaten. The man's companions tell Shaft that their friend humiliated the one who was sprouting racial slurs at him. Shaft confronts him and he says he's Walter Wade Jr. , the son of a wealthy man. Shaft finds that he has the id of a woman who's a waitress at the bar where Wade and the guy who was attacked were. When Wade continues to hurl racist comments, Shaft smacks him. Shaft later learns because of his actions Wade was granted bail and fled. Two years later, Wade returns and Shaft arrests him. At his hearing when the judge grants him bail, that's when Shaft throws his badge at the judge. He then sets out to get Wade by finding the waitress. Wade in the meantime asks a drug dealer named Peoples Hernandez to find the waitress and make sure she doesn't talk. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Still the man, any questions?


Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





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Release Date:

16 June 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shaft Returns  »

Box Office


$46,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$21,714,757 (USA) (16 June 2000)


$70,327,868 (USA) (13 October 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 uncle and for Richard Roundtree's participation to be reduced. See more »


At the beginning of the movie, the blood is on Walter's left hand when Shaft arrests him. In all of the flashbacks, the blood is on the right hand. See more »


John Shaft: [passing Carmen on his way toward gang members] Anybody lookin' to maintain their employment with the NYPD
[draws his gun]
John Shaft: might be in their best interest to leave now...
See more »


References The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) See more »


Chillando Goma
by Rafael Vargas and Winston Rosa
Performed by Fulanito
Courtesy of Cutting Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Smooth as silk
6 October 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I love this 1980s-style action flick, and watch it every time it is pops up on TV. Sam Jackson plays Shaft's nephew, a big-city cop trying to track down a reluctant witness to a racially motivated murder. The killer, played by a sinister, pre-BATMAN Christian Bale, is modeled on the New York preppie rapist (remember him?). He hires a low-level drug dealer (Jeffrey Wright) to track down the witness, a waitress (Toni Collette), and kill her. Shaft must find her before they do. Jackson is silky smooth, the action is right out of a DIE HARD or LETHAL WEAPON flick, and the landscape is populated by some great supporting players including Dan Hedaya as a corrupt cop and Vanessa Williams as a cop who has Shaft's back. The original Shaft, Richard Roundtree, even pops up a couple of times. This is one wild and funny ride that plays the way we prefer our action films to play. At times, it is a little thin on plot, but it keeps moving. No blood to speak of, just action, action and more action. And keep a close eye on Wright, a noted stage and screen actor. His soft-spoken drug lord tenderly holds a newborn baby at one moment and in the next pokes a knife into the neck of a terrified woman. He steals every scene he is in.

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