Shaft (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Poor movie.

The exact movie that Kevin Costner would make if he were black instead of some kind of whitebread Nebraska-actin' mofo. Spend a lot of money, allow no shading in the characterizations, have the hero win every battle, be on the right side of every confrontation, fight against all the evil in the world, and land every bullet square on its target.

At one point Shaft is trapped in an apartment with a handgun, and manages to blast his way out against two cops with shotguns and about fifty baddies with automatic weapons.


None. No female glamour. This Shaft is sure a lot less horny than the original.
In the course of the movie, Shaft stops all drug trafficking in North America, puts an end to racism, cures AIDS, assures a loving home for the world's children, halts domestic violence, wipes out police corruption, and single-handedly erases every criminal from the streets. The only thing left for the sequel is for him fly to Israel and resolve all tensions in the Middle East.

The film has none of the panache you'd expect, despite hiring the right man to be Shaft (Samuel L Jackson), and even bringing in Richard Roundtree, who looks as young as Jackson, to provide some connection to the original Shaft films. Of course, Jackson can be riotously funny, but they allowed him no latitude to expand the character to include a real sense of humor and style. Jackson is the all time king at righteously arrogant outraged humor, but without the humor it's just arrogant outrage, which doesn't have that much entertainment value.

Jackson is reduced to performing silly scenes like out-of-control rage while he shouts "what is my name? say it!" over and over again as he pistol-whips some insignificant dwarfish street thug. Of course, by then he had eliminated all the major criminals, and had started on 7-Eleven clerks who overcharge, priests who give excessively hard confessions, and those kids who claim to be selling magazines to win scholarships. A couple of times I think he even pistol-whipped Ed McMahon for overpromising on those publishing sweepstakes, and he worked over a couple of members of the Florida Supreme Court for excessive partisanship.

DVD info from Amazon.

2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Good transfer.

making-of featurette, cast and crew interviews

trailers and music videos

Strangely enough, however, Shaft never did get his chance to face down and defeat the main baddie one-on-one, thus withholding that standard catharsis from the moviegoing audience.

By the way, Shaft actually committed more crimes in this movie that everyone else combined. But it's OK, because he did it in the name of truth, and justice, and the American way.

Finally, this Shaft is like a eunuch or something. I mean Shaft is supposed to be a "sex machine", right? But this Shaft couldn't get laid in Vegas with a fistful of c-notes. Bring back that horny old Shaft, will ya?

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 2.5/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4, Apollo 68.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.5, Apollo users 76/100.
  • With their dollars ... this movie made quite a bit of money. A $46 million budget produced $70 million in domestic gross alone, on 2400 screens. I suppose a Shaft 2 (or maybe it would be Shaft 5) is on the way.

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