Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shaft (2000)

Director: John Singleton

Writers: Ernest Tidyman, John Singleton, Shane Salerno, Richard Price

Composer: David Arnold

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Busta Rhymes, Dan Hedaya, Toni Collette, Richard Roundtree, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Josef Sommer, Lynne Thigpen, Philip bosco, Pat Hingle, Lee Tergesen, Gordon Parks

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Still the man, any questions?

Plot: New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.  Twice is enough.

It's been 14 years since I saw it last (which was in the theater).  I'm a fan of the original Blaxploitation classic, SHAFT (1971), starring Richard Roundtree (who also has a small role in the remake).  In this reboot, director Singleton and pals do a great job in the first half but the rest of it gets bogged down in the story with crooked cops and a whole bunch of other stuff we were already dealing with.  It's like that was one story element too much.  The picture's only 99 minutes long but it feels well over two hours...except for that great first half.  The performances are fun.  Casting Sam Jackson in the lead is the fun choice and he does go a long way to make it his own but simply by changing the actor to someone without all of his star power and previous films to reflect on would have possibly made this a truer reboot.  I fucking LOVE Jackson in this.  He's awesome but he brings that Jackson quality to it that no one else does.  With a different actor and making this picture more gritty...that might have made a better crime action picture.  But still, what a great first half.  The film is bookended with Isaac Hayes' classic theme tune which, because the second half is weak and overlong, it's great for the opening but not so much at the end because it reminds you of the better, classic film.  The Paramount DVD has a few extras with the theatrical trailer (non-anamorphic widescreen), 13 minutes of cast & crew interviews, a making of featurette "Shaft: Still the Man" (16 minutes), an Isaac Hayes music video with this theme (it's the same recording from the '71 picture but with Hayes performing on stage with other musicians and sexy ladies (kind of looking like a Robert Palmer video) mixed in with clips and dialogue from this new film), and finally a music video for "Bad Man" by R. Kelly.

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