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Shaft (2000)

 -  Action | Crime | Thriller  -  16 June 2000 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 51,635 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 288 user | 165 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Shaft (2000)

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Cast

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

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Still the man, any questions?

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

16 June 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shaft Returns  »

Box Office

Budget:

$46,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£872,545 (UK) (15 September 2000)

Gross:

ESP 228,558,146 (Spain) (29 June 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

During the courtroom scene, the judge's nameplate changes from Justice "Kimball" to Justice "Bradford". See more »

Quotes

Walter Wade, Jr.: Do you know who my father is?
John Shaft: No, do you?
See more »

Connections

References Putney Swope (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Hot Gal Today (Krotches Remix)
by Cleveland Browne, Wycliff Johnson, Mr. Vegas (as Clifford Smith) and Sean Paul (as Sean Henriques)
Performed by Sean Paul & Mr. Vegas
Courtesy of VP Music Group, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oddly mainstream for a blaxploitation flick, but Jackson is great and the total is fun and solid
9 March 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Shaft (2000)

This comes so far after the original "Shaft" in 1971 you might hesitate to call it a sequel. It's more like a revival, or a nostalgic time trip. Except that it's all been updated nicely, with a feeling of the original sassiness intact. And the Isaac Hayes music is central, and terrific, making this a legit Shaft movie.

Samuel Jackson plays the role perfectly, not pulling back and not overdoing it. The idea of a black cop in a city that still has racial biases, in this case emphasizing the rise of Latino drug lords as part of the fracturing, is mainstreamed here. It's not as daring or shocking to see this pushed forward, but it's still effective. Shaft, the main character (who never seems to have a first name), is powerful, smart, and unwilling to be pushed around by authority. Even if it means losing his job (or quitting--Shaft is always the one making his own choices).

The director, John Singleton, is not especially well positioned for a mainstream sequel with high production values (his one famous effort to date is "Boyz n the Hood"), but he pulls it off. This is a snappy, smart, well made movie. It's oddly mainstream, playing with clichés too easily, working with bad guy good guy tenets adding only the minor twist of racial or ethnic alliances, though even these we've seen before. You can't help but see "Jackie Brown" from three years earlier as a far more interesting, well made, and timely movie. That one was by Quentin Tarantino, which changes the score a bit, but it starred Jackson, again, and makes the most of him.

You might say Singleton makes the most of Jackson here, too, but a better way to look at it is that Jackson makes the most of Singleton. He takes over the movie, and it's a good thing. He has talent and presence in a classic Hollywood acting way. The cast around him is really strong, which is nice. (There is a cameo by the original director of the 1971 "Shaft," Gordon Parks, in a bar scene, if you are lucky--a white haired older black man at the table.)

The other terrific actor is Jeffrey Wright, playing a drug king with enough realism and panache to make it real and glitzy both. The third main character is the future Batman, Christian Bale, who is a great bad guy and who you actually miss in the last parts of the movie.

What really brings this down to earth, and too much so, is the story, which is boilerplate stuff. There is machismo, and guns, and a play of one bad guy against another, and one cop against another. You might say, hey, isn't there room for more cop and crime movies that work in familiar circles? Yes. But I again refer to "Jackie Brown" as a way to see out of this box.

This new "Shaft" is good stuff--it's well acted, tightly edited, directed with professional canny (noticeable in lots of different ways), and brings up racial clichés in a fun and even important way. It descends by the last third into overused chase and shoot scenes between cops and robbers. But...it's better than its reputation, for sure. I say see it. Enjoy the attitudes. The acting. And the homage to the original.


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