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Shaft


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1 new from CDN$ 144.50 5 used from CDN$ 9.14

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Product Description

Samuel L. Jackson makes a gleefully updated John Shaft in John Singleton's homage to (not remake of) the early '70s action classic, picking up where Richard Roundtree's legendary Shaft left off. The Manhattan-set film is highlighted by excellent performances, dynamic action scenes, and witty one-liners (Jackson's Shaft: "It's my duty to please the booty"--although the line's deceptive: there's a surprising lack of sex in the film). Unfortunately, it's offset by a surprisingly uninspired, predictable, one-dimensional story, penned by Singleton, Richard Price, and Shane Salerno. The story, in which Shaft investigates the murder of a young African American, is without suspense, since from the start the audience knows that rich white boy Walter Wade (Christian Bale) did the deed, and that Shaft is going to kick his ass, big time. That said, charismatic performances--from Jackson (who, in keeping with the times, is more volatile and fiery than his predecessor), Toni Collette (as a frightened witness), the villainous Bale, and the utterly amazing Jeffrey Wright (Basquiat)--make the film enticing and watchable. Look for a cameo by the original Shaft's director, the legendary Gordon Parks, and fans of the original should note that a still stunningly handsome Roundtree briefly appears as Jackson's uncle. --N.F. Mendoza

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
Samuel L. Jackson in Shaft could have been a great movie. He has the talent and skill to effectively play the role. Unfortunately, he is prevented from doing a giving a good performance because of the weak direction and script by Hack Extrodinare John Singleton. Someone please stop Mr. Singleton Before he directs again.
Singleton's terrible script and direction turns Shaft into a campy over-the top superhero movie instead of an intruigung murder mystery. Most of the characters come off like cartoonish stereotypes instead of real people the way they did in the 1971 original. Shaft fans know he is smart, smooth and clever; he's subtle about the way he does things. He's not a black batman wannabe as depicted in this film. Perhaps Mr. Singleton dreams of doing a Batman movie and thought he could apply those concepts here. He was sadly mistaken.
In the openeing scene he comes off as menacing and threatening, that he scares the witness even more and puts the white racist (Christian Bale) on the offensive by arresting him. A litle subtlety would have helped the story here and made the character more interesting. In the subplot our menacing shaft threatens a neighborhood drug dealer (Geoffrey Rush) and arrests him on some trumped up charges. While in jail the two consipire to find a witness who can finger Bale's character for the murder he committed. Sounds a lot like Batman Returns doesn't it? Just so he can have something to do, Shaft goes on a macho search to find the witness who can help his case. Personally, I think Singleton wanted to have a ton of frames of Sam Jackson looking cool in Armani leather. This goes on until the last act the movie which turns into a great big comic book action sequence chock full of shootings and mayhem.
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Format: DVD
Samuel L Jackson is fabulous in this as John Shaft a tough, cynical NYPD detective who resigns in anger and takes justice into his own hands.
Some have criticised the plot for being obvious but I find that there are some unexpected twists that keep the story interesting. The dialogue is solid and the screenplay is very well written. The hard-ass banter between cops and bad guys is deliverd almost universally in a very natural style and really captures the feel of NYC.
Jeffrey Wright is just amazing as Peoples Hernandez and next to Jackson delivers some of the best lines in the movie. His performance alone makes this film worth checking out. Christian Bales is the other bad-guy. He plays the son of a Donald Tump-like real estate developer who commits a racist murder and then uses his money and influence to avoid being brought to justice.
Bales is very good in this role and his scenes with Jeffrey Wright are some of the best in the film.
Buster Rhymes plays Shaft's friend and driver and is also very good.
The action sequences are well done but what makes this film is the dialogue and the trading of insults, etc. between a variety of characters that are New York stereotypes. And while they may be stereotypes they still deliver some really memorable lines.
I've watched this numerous times and know much of it by heart but that doesn't prevent me from continuing to enjoy it.
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Format: DVD
I actually cringed when I saw the trailer to this movie. It didn't show much except shot after shot of Samuel L. Jackson removing his designer sunglasses and staring at the camera. I thought it had the potential to be awful.
I was very wrong. The movie is not without plot holes and implausibility, but it still works thanks to great acting and solid direction. John Singleton takes on a genre film with this almost-sequel to the famous blaxploitation series of the 1970s. Jackson plays John Shaft--nephew of the original Shaft who appears here as the wise old uncle. It's Richard Roundtree himself doing the honors, getting screen time in a theatrical release for the first time in decades.
The story concerns a cold murder of a young black man by rich and twisted Walter Wade, son of wealthy New York society. Christian Bale comes right off the set of American Pyscho and plays the demented Wade with a more outwardly tough guy persona. Think Bateman and the Preppie Murderer, and you get the idea. (Even the faux-Brooklyn accent is funny.)
There's not a whole lot of mystery around here. Shaft basically swears to get this guy, and we know he will, no matter no long or how many people he has to shoot. Things get complicated when Wade hires a Dominican drug lord to whack out the sole witness to the murder. The drug lord is then linked to dirty cops who get contracted to kill Shaft and the girl.
In the end, a lot of people die. Shaft has the best marksmanship of any cop in the country as he guns down countless low-rent drug dealers and various minions. And clad in Armani, the coat alone costing half a cop's yearly salary, Jackson is the ultimate in cool.
Why does it work? For one, the writing is slick, even if it's (trouble sign) done by a literal team of writers.
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By Jackson Brown on March 20 2003
Format: DVD
Sure, Samuel L. Jackson was a light in a dark place, but it was too dark a place! Shaft was a lousy remake that could have been great. Samuel L. Jackson was the saving grace of the movie, but it still isn't worth watching. I was very disappointed in how poorly it was made. Christian Bale delivered a cheesy and stupid performance, Toni Collete had a flat character, Vanessa Williams had kindof a pointless role, Dan Hedaya has had much better roles (Ransom, The Hurricane), and the only thing that seemed to come out of Busta Rhymes mouth every time that he spoke was the F word. Sam Jackson had a few cool lines, and he did the best that he could have with what they gave him, but it still didn't really work. This was a cheesy action movie. Although your kids would probably feel cool saying that they watched it, it is not something that they should see. The R rating is due to strong violence, pervasive strong language, and a brief sexual encounter. It isn't worth your time. For a good Samuel L. Jackson action alternative, watch Die Hard with a Vengeance.
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