‘Shaft’ Sticks You With Slapstick Comedy & Action ‘Bad Boys’ Style! (Movie Review)

Shaft is a film I never thought I’d be seeing theatrically, but I honestly could not help myself.  The trailer looked so hysterically funny that I had to give it a try.  I guess I’m weak like that.  However, what’s very confusing, even to me (shocker!), is the fact that this one is simply called Shaft.  Wasn’t there a Samuel Jackson flick back in 2000 called Shaft?  Don’t worry.  We’ll cover that and more as we move into paragraph two down below.  For now just feel rest assured that you’re in good hands in this review and this 2019 entry is all part of the same happy family.  Alright, let’s talk about it all now.

So remember I mentioned up above the movie of the same name?  Well, I wasn’t kidding.  This is the fifth film in the Shaft series and it’s literally a sequel to the 2000 film with the exact same title.  And now you know!  It’s directed by Tim Story from a “story” written by Kenya Barri and Alex Barnow.  The action comedy flick stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree and Regina Hall.  Interested enough despite this movie hitting the theaters in the U.S. this week it’s getting the Netflix treatment in the international markets.  Say it ain’t so?  It be so!  Now that we got all that out of the way let’s cover what all goes down here.  

The film opens up in the past with an action packed introduction to the major players here, mostly involving Jackson and Hall, and effectively sets up future events here.  John “JJ” Shaft Jr. (Jessie Usher) is an FBI agent.  Well…sort of.  He’s more a data analyst specializing in cybersecurity expert, something he’ll get mercilessly picked on for rest assured.  So after his best friend dies under suspicious overdose circumstances (they really kept me guessing here as to where they would take this), he turns to his estranged father (as we learn from the film’s opening), none other than the legendary John Shaft II (Jackson) for assistance in forcibly uncovering the truth.  However, I don’t think he thought this plan through thoroughly.  They are two peas in completely different pods.  Needless to say the father and son team go to war in the underworld of Harlem, but not without help from the first generation John Shaft (Richard Roundtree).  Oh what a trip through Harlem this is!

Here’s the deal ladies and gents.  I had an absolute blast with Shaft.  For me it was a non-stop laugh riot.  Wait!  That’s not true.  The entire audience I was with was laughing out loud throughout the film’s presentation.  It was a great escape from real life.  That much is for sure!  The comedy was first rate and the action was an absolute blast.  Furthermore, I completely appreciated the R-rating.  This one could have easily been PG-13 and still been somewhat funny, but the fact that they pushed the envelope completely here made me proud.  I can’t believe I am saying this, but I actually can’t wait to revisit this one too.

Truth be told I fully expected to be walking into a “blaxploitation” movie here.  However, what I got was so much more.  It was more in the vein of a Bad Boys-like entry than anything else.  It works very much as a comedic buddy film, but it was also a generational one passing down the torch from father to son and further down the rabbit hole.  One could say it’s formulaic in its presentation, and that wouldn’t be too far off from complete accuracy, but it’s the playful way it’s done with crude language, nudity and violence to boot.  In other words, as Aaron Neuwirth would say, this is very much so a “Brian” movie!  Jackson was born for this role, but its Usher who had me in stitches throughout the innocent way he carries himself here.  Just when you think he’s never going to amount to nothing Shaft Jr. has some surprises in store.  And just like that.  Boom!  Shaft was a surprise hit on me.  Enjoy!


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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