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Shaft (2000)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  16 June 2000 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 55,357 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 295 user | 160 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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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:

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

The word 'fuck' is used 165 times. See more »

Goofs

After the first arrest of the drug dealers, the camera and its crew are reflected in the mirror on the far side of the booking area in the police station. See more »

Quotes

Peoples Hernandez: Stick to what I know? Stick to what I know? I'm a star. Yo soy el mayembe!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Commission (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme from Shaft
Written, Performed and Produced by Isaac Hayes
Courtesy of ILH Entertainment, Inc.
By Arrangement with Virgin Records America, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

lively homage
13 January 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Samuel L. Jackson seems to be having the time of his movie acting life portraying the title character in `Shaft,' John Singleton's take on the groundbreaking classic that, on its release in 1971, served as the blueprint for all the `blaxploitation' films that filled theatres throughout the early and mid 1970's. Unfortunately, the concept of a rogue black cop, defying the rules and doing things his own way, is not as fresh as it was back in the time of the original film, so this new version of `Shaft' has less to recommend it. Still, it is an efficient police procedural, filled with crowd-pleasing moments of adrenalin-pumping melodrama, hissable villains and a wisecracking, kickass hero who seems virtually indestructible – just the way we like our heroes to be in a movie like this.

Singleton pays affectionate homage to the original film in many ways. Jackson actually plays the nephew of the original Shaft and, indeed, Richard Roundtree makes a cameo appearance early on in the film as Jackson's seasoned mentor. Singleton wisely uses the original Isaac Hayes recording of the hit song as background for the film's opening credit sequence and backs up many of the action scenes with an impressive instrumental interpretation as well.

The story offers little that is new for this particular genre whose films often rise or fall based on the quality of the foils against whom the hero must ultimately contend. Luckily, the filmmakers are blessed with not just one but two impressive villains – Jeffrey Wright as Peoples Hernandez, a tough talking thug who wants to expand out of the little neighborhood kingdom he has established into the big time of upper class drug dealing, and Christian Bale as Walter Wade, Jr., the racist, spoiled-brat son of a New York City magnate whose hate crime killing of an innocent black man sets the plot in motion and serves as fodder for Shaft's personal vendetta. Bale proves definitively that the quality of subtle, soul-cringing evil he brought to his role in `American Psycho' was no fluke and that he can be as effective in a big budget extravaganza like this one as he is in a smaller scale, far more quirky work like `Psycho.' Vanessa Williams, on the other hand, who plays Shaft's partner and who is almost unrecognizable buried under a dark beret, fails to distinguish herself either in her role or in her performance.

Then we have Mr. Jackson himself. Here is a man who slides so effortlessly into the role that, despite the absurdity and incredibility of much that is going on around him, we never question the film's veracity for a moment. Whether tossing off wisecracks, shooting at unarmed criminals, pounding defenseless suspects into insensibility or consoling distraught witnesses, Shaft remains forever a hero, acting out the impulses we in the audience feel but are never able to fully act upon in our daily lives. Thus, this new `Shaft' works best as simpleminded good vs. evil melodrama – and even the most sophisticated movie watcher can use a bit of that once in a while.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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