Samuel L. Jackson returns as John Shaft in the movie Shaft, the sequel to his 2000 movie Shaft, based on the original 1971 movie Shaft which starred Richard Roundtree as John Shaft. Ya following me so far? Roundtree’s original 3 movies had Shaft taking on the Mafia, human traffickers, assassins, and locating some hidden cash to the sum of $250,000. Hey, it’s the 1970’s, that was a LOT of money back then. Samuel Jackson took on the role of the original Shafts son. Jackson had to have been the best choice to play the character, he certainly had the attitude for it. Shaft has always been that badass, take charge ladies man with the best soundtrack and plenty of bad guys to bust up.
This Shaft is very different. First of all, we have Kenya Barris writing the script, you know the man who wrote Girls Trip and the current ABC hit show Black-ish. Tim Story directed the film you may know him for Taxi, Ride Along, & Ride Along 2. While these movies weren’t huge hits I still found them funny. The point here is Story knows how to do a “Buddy-cop” film and that’s exactly what this is… these buddies just happen to be father and son.
Jessie T. Usher is this films main Shaft character, John Shaft Jr. is an FBI data analyst who grew up without his dad around but had 3 great friends, so when one of those friends turns up dead he does everything he can to find out who’s responsible. Junior is nothing at all like his dad a more modern age guy he’s very tech savvy, in touch with his feelings and is rather awkward around women. John quickly finds himself out his element while trying to investigate his friend's death so he turns to the one man that can help him navigate the streets on New York, His father John Shaft. Once they get out there it is pure comedy.
“But Shaft isn’t supposed to be a comedy!” and yes if you say that you are correct Shaft started out as a gritty urban P.I. film, where shootouts were the norm and women, were just sexual objects. Well its been almost 20 years since Jacksons first Shaft film, things change, and this is just one of those things. Teaming Barris and Story together you get an action comedy that works. The movie has a bit of a lull as we get to know Junior, but once he’s with his dad it picks up and keeps a decent pace throughout.
As for the women, well we all know Shaft has always been known to be a womanizer, and that really doesn’t change for him in this movie. But as I said times change, and the two women in Junior's life, his mom (Regina Hall) and best friend, Sasha (Alexandra Shipp), are two very positive and strong characters in his life. Both women were very good in the movie and Regina Hall talking to herself in the restaurant bathroom had me laughing through the whole scene.
Even with all the fun that Shaft and Junior bring to the film, there is still a murder to investigate and it all culminates with Shaft, Junior, and John Shaft Sr. (Richard Roundtree) teaming up to take down the big bad in the end. So do your duty and please your booty, by taking it to the movies this weekend to see Shaft!