‘Shaft’ Review: A Perfectly Good Opportunity Wasted in Favor of Sitcom Action Humor

It’s no wonder Netflix is distributing the latest work in the Shaft cinematic universe internationally, skipping a theatrical release in many territories. Tim Story’s confusingly-named sequel is also a quasi-reboot that simultaneously ignores and acknowledges John Singleton’s 2000 film of the same name and feels very much like a long pilot for a cable series that’s been engineered by studio executives to appeal to multiple generations. While best-suited to be passively entertaining on a platform like Netflix, despite its retrograde ideas on race and masculinity, the film attempts to update a genre built on exploring the social ills of the time. Here, it’s the colorblind opioid crisis and domestic terrorism, yet it’s a wasted opportunity to explore more social trends within the context of Black Lives Matter. Perhaps that day will come if a studio decides to reboot Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. (Dear Studio Executive: Don’t!
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