Shaft | Chicago Reader
click to enlarge shaft_web.jpg

Shaft

The franchise that began with Gordon Parks's groundbreaking 1971 blaxploitation hit starring Richard Roundtree as ultra-cool private detective John Shaft gets an appealing reboot in this lively action comedy that unites three generations of NYC crime fighters out to bust some murderous drug dealers and settle some personal scores. Roundtree, now perhaps one of the hippest graybeards ever, resurfaces in the last third of the film, after his son, the louche but street-smart John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson, who starred in John Singleton's 2000 version), links up with his own estranged offspring, JJ, a tight-assed FBI data analyst (Jessie T. Usher), to solve the murder of JJ's best friend and permanently retire the narcotics kingpin (Isaach De Bankolé) who decades ago put out a contract on Shaft II. All the actors are game for the tongue-in-cheek screenplay by Kenya Barris (Girls Trip, TV's Black-ish) and Alex Barnow (TV's Family Guy, The Goldbergs), with Jackson and Usher notably riffing on mismatched-cop-buddies tropes. Nobody milks laughs from profanity and innuendo as knowingly as Jackson, and the frequently not-PC ethnic, filmic, and pop culture references pile up so quickly that one joke often steps on another—which is fine, because the sketchy plot is really just a coat peg on which to hang all the rest. But for a breezy summer movie, this one's hard to beat; hopefully director Tim Story (the Ride Along and Think Like a Man franchises) will be back for the next installment. With Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Matt Lauria, and Luna Lauren Velez.

Credits

Director:

  • Tim Story

Cast:

  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Jessie T. Usher
  • Regina Hall
  • Alexandra Shipp
  • Matt Lauria
  • Titus Welliver
  • Method Man
  • Richard Roundtree

Writers:

  • Alex Barnow
  • Ernest Tidyman
  • Kenya Barris

Producers:

  • Ira Napoliello
  • John Davis
  • Josh Mack
  • Kenya Barris
  • Marc S. Fischer
  • Richard Brener
  • Tim Story

What others are saying

  • Reviews/comments

    Subscribe to this thread:

    Add a review


    Roll over stars and click to rate.

    Now Playing

    By Film...

    By Theater...