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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10.28%
Worth A Look42.06%
Just Average: 22.43%
Pretty Crappy: 14.02%
Sucks: 11.21%

8 reviews, 59 user ratings

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Shaft (2000)
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by Chef ADogg

"Talkin' 'bout Shaft!"
4 stars

Let's get it out of the way right now: I've never seen the original "Shaft." After watching "Jackie Brown" a few years ago, I spent a long summer night eyeing some of Pam Grier's most famous flicks, and the experience convinced me pretty thoroughly that there was not much future for me in 1970's black cinema. Nonetheless, as a longtime John Singleton fan I looked forward to his update of quite possibly the most well-known blaxploitation film of all time--and with novelist Richard Price kicking out the screenwriting jams and Samuel L. Jackson filling Richard Roundtree's ass-kicking, lady-killing shoes, the end result does not disappoint.

The Paramount hype machine marketed this as a remake of the 1971 original, but it's more of a fourth installment in the series. Sam Jackson does not play Shaft himself, but Shaft's nephew, also named Shaft. If you're confused, don't worry--the movie explains it better, because Richard Price is much smarter than me.

Ah, Richard Price--it's quite a thing to have him writing a film's script. He produced his share of convincing, hardboiled screenplays in the eighties and early nineties (most notably "Sea of Love," "The Color of Money," and "Mad Dog and Glory") but has recently been concentrating more on writing novels (the profession that won him mad acclaim in the 70's). Price brings to "Shaft" the same eye for detail and ear for dialogue that make his books so wonderfully realistic; most spectacularly can you feel Price's touch in the interaction between Shaft and a Latin drug dealer named Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright)--their conversations are funny, tough, and sparkle with the rough-hewn wit of ghetto survivors.

Earlier in this review I made mention of Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown," and that film is comparable to Singleton's; the principle pleasure in both comes from watching the characters think. The scene in which two crooked cops find themselves in the middle of a Mexican stand-off while Shaft cruises past is a marvel of execution--Price writes it so that the pieces seem both absurd and completely logical as they fall into place; the actors play it slow, so we experience the joy of watching realization slowly play across their faces.

The film's plot concerns itself mostly with Shaft's pursuit of Walter Wade (played by Christian Bale with blood so cold it threatens to freeze inside his veins), an upper-crust socialite who bludgeons a black man and then flees the country for two years. Shaft catches him again, only to be foiled by a lopsided justice system. Wade is released on a million dollar bail and falls into cahoots with Peoples, who offers him a deal: If Wade agrees to work as an uptown face for People's drug operation, Hernandez will arrange for Diane Palmieri (Toni Collette), the murder's only witness, to get permanently got.

To find the witness, though, Peoples needs Shaft's help, since Shaft is the bomb-diggiest detective in New York City and the only one with enough connections to find Diane. However, if you think that Shaft is going to give this innocent women up without a fight (or at least some well placed profanity), well, then you need to watch more Sam Jackson movies.

When all is said and done, "Shaft" basically amounts to some good one-liners, nice-looking cinematography, and lots of spent gunpowder. But not much more is needed, or expected; Singleton has delivered one of the smartest, slickest straight-up action movies in recent years. The plot may dip into routine more frequently than is comfortable, but it never reaches tedium because the characters are so obviously intelligent. A lot of that credit can go to the screenwriter, as Price has never been one to underestimate or demonize his villains; there are a few scenes where we are made to feel for Peoples, and not one where we can't at least respect his wiliness.

Samuel L. Jackson talks shit. John Singleton finally proves that "Boyz N The Hood" wasn't a fluke. A franchise is revived. And an audience leaves the theater pleasantly surprised and deeply entertained.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1794&reviewer=123
originally posted: 01/11/01 19:14:21
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User Comments

9/21/17 morris campbell pretty good nothing more 4 stars
3/02/11 chris c Jackson is a badass mother, Bale and Wright are hateful mothers but Rhymes is annoying 4 stars
1/30/11 Phineas Time for PC remake with WHITE Man as Shaft,and Black/Jew villain!!!! 1 stars
5/18/09 action movie fan a rare casw when a redo is better than the firts-one of 2000,s best films 5 stars
10/30/05 Wisamane Lmao it was horribly entertaining 5 stars
8/12/05 ES Mr. jackson wasted on a bland and unsavable script 2 stars
8/04/05 R.W. Welch Tough cop actioner has decent acting, but routine overall. 3 stars
10/09/04 rick terrazas no cop gets away with that much bull 3 stars
5/23/04 Butterbean Weak and miscasted. I hated the first movie, but this made me give it a second look. 1 stars
2/14/04 J Movie was kind of boring, but the theme song was thigh. 3 stars
6/23/03 Jack Bourbon Man, I don't mind dissin' whitey, but this was idiotically, hatefully, ridiculously racist. 2 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby Repugnant and atrociously made. 1 stars
2/21/03 spacecowboy-00x "SHAFT!....you're DAMN RIGHT" 4 stars
7/21/02 Croweater A boring & shallow film with stereotyped characters, crappy script and weak directing. 2 stars
2/25/02 Jenny Tullwartz Cop so mean I was pulling for suspect to be innocent (which PC predictably forbade) 1 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden Such A Pale and Weak Remake Of The Original 70's Flick. 1 stars
10/16/01 jawsboy bale is cool, but the movie gave me the "SHAFT", wait, not like that..very realistic though 3 stars
9/04/01 Bada Bing Crosby Jeffrey Wright was much better than the movie; Bale was ridic 2 stars
8/31/01 Butterbean This movie was as bad as it's predecessor! 2 stars
8/13/01 Fish Eye Very realistic cop movie - Jackson is awesome and so is Jeffrey Wright 5 stars
5/21/01 I love movies Bale was cool but the movie sucked 1 stars
4/03/01 Jesse L Samuel L.Jackson makes it worth a look...nothing else 4 stars
2/12/01 CJ O' Callaghan I came out of the cinema embarrassed - that i was dumb enough to see this piece of shit 1 stars
1/22/01 Darryl Elvers Unbelievable, kills with 9mm, but escapes machine gun fire. 1 stars
1/22/01 Spetters A good piece of entertainment. Jackon Rules! 4 stars
12/27/00 Tom good point, he's a millionaire, why the hell is he selling jewelery and dealing drugs??! 3 stars
12/19/00 The Bomb 69 didn't make sense, why would Bale character sell drugs when daddy can send him to Europe??? 2 stars
11/20/00 iulian Tocu bad music, a film for kids 2 stars
9/27/00 Matthew Bartley very surprised by how good this was and Samuel is the man 5 stars
7/25/00 Heather Jackson plays one cool m.f. so shut your mouth! 5 stars
7/06/00 W.Wayde A lot more complicated plot, so movie was really intense. Jackson rocks the fuckin house 5 stars
7/04/00 Politicsman You damn right!!!! Nothin' beats the original! 3 stars
6/29/00 burton miller i don't know if there is enough ass in the world for this movie to suck 1 stars
6/27/00 malcolm Shaft chasing one bar room brawler for the whole movie kinda trivialized the character 3 stars
6/26/00 Andy Webster Better than expected for one reason, the host of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego 5 stars
6/26/00 PJ The movie should have been called Peoples Hernandez, cause he stole the whole show, whole!! 4 stars
6/26/00 Overflow Bitch Pleasantly suprised... Samuel L Jackson is a great Shaft. 4 stars
6/25/00 Captain Highcrime But doesn't everybody wish they had a John Shaft patrolling the streets of their town? 4 stars
6/25/00 Bubby KoHawk said it all in his review. Add unrealistic dialogue. 1 stars
6/25/00 kim boyd Peoples was awesome! He needs his own movie. I was captivated by him. 4 stars
6/23/00 koHawk shitty acting, predictable plot, movie sucks 1 stars
6/22/00 g g 5 stars
6/21/00 Peter Smith How believable is a Shaft that doesn't get laid? 2 stars
6/20/00 Japtalian Jeffrey Wright as Peoples Hernandez does a remarkable acting job. 3 stars
6/20/00 Reverend Krule Richard Roundtree gets all the fly honeys in the end 5 stars
6/20/00 PhilmPhreak A good time at the movies! Samuel Jackson=da man! 4 stars
6/20/00 wooHaa anemic plot, "bad guys" are pussy-whipped, and vanessa isn't the main babe 1 stars
6/19/00 Cheeseboy This movie is one great mother SHUT YOUR MOUTH! 5 stars
6/19/00 Jokko While Jackson is performing solidly, Bale and Wright steal the show in a big way. 4 stars
6/19/00 MC Cheese A+ for bringing Richard Roundtree back, better on the second viewing. 4 stars
6/19/00 Obi Wan Not bad at all...Hollywood managed not to fuck this up! Jax and Peoples were good! 4 stars
6/19/00 Krystal Jackson kicks major ass, but story itself was choppy & unremarkable 3 stars
6/18/00 Jason Kallelis Not bad, not bad at all. Now I have to see the original... 5 stars
6/18/00 koHawk After my buzz wore off, I realized I was watching a terrible movie. 2 stars
6/18/00 cinesuerte rent it instead, not that good 3 stars
6/18/00 William D'Angelo a fine update of the original 4 stars
6/17/00 Clarance not bad! They sure did a bang up job with what they had 3 1/2 starz... 3 stars
6/16/00 FilmStar Pretty cool...Jackson was *awesome* and Bale was hot as usual (even if he was a dick) 4 stars
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  16-Jun-2000 (R)


  26-Oct-2000 (M)

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