Ironically, the modern reboot treats women in a way that simply feels misogynistic and outdated. It’s the heritage of the Shaft” movies that calls the race of the reviewer (and the viewer) into question.
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Summary: JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide. The simple storyline, of reuniting father with son for hijinks and growing pains, suffers under the weight of a terrible script filled with sexism, racism, Islamophobia, and homophobia. Samuel L. Jackson plays a parody of himself, ratcheting up the amount of expletives used by the minute. Some instances land, but most painfully miss the mark.
In the late 1960s, vocalist and keyboardist Isaac Hayes wrote a series of hit songs for the famed Memphis label, Stax, with his partner Dave Porter. In 1971, Hayes was asked to score the classic movie Shaft, which went on to become famous for its in-your-face protagonist and for the music that punctuated and nearly completed every frame.
The film has some fun dialogue as well as great chemistry between the original Shaft Roundtree, Jackson as his son, and Usher as Junior. It is especially fun to see Roundtree still with that swagger and cool getting some good screen time. Although the film makes big show early on of trying to give the women (Hall and Alexandra Shipp as Junior’s love interest) more respect and agency in the story, the actresses are left with little to work with and Hall is so shrill in the early scenes that you want to cover your ears. It’s a shame because last year’s Support the Girls” proved how nuanced an actress she could be.
JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide. Absent throughout JJ’s youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem’s heroin-infested underbelly. And while JJ’s own FBI analyst’s badge may clash with his dad’s trademark leather duster, there’s no denying family. Besides, Shaft’s got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that’s professional and personal.
Shaft reduces women to the role of sex objects and damsels in distress. Sure, the original 1971 film, which ushered in the genre of Blaxploitation featuring Black leads and glorified violence, also regarded women as disposable Bond girls. But these early anti-establishment movies aligned women’s sexuality with internal empowerment and independence. Icons like actress Pam Grier were proud of their Blackness, their afros, and their bodies—a revolutionary stance, given the time period when Black signified ugly”. Ironically, the modern reboot treats women in a way that simply feels misogynistic and outdated. Women crudely exist as consumables to Shaft’s libido. For example, two supporting characters named Baby and Sugar (played by Chivonne Michelle and Tashiana Washington) are offered by Shaft to JJ as sexual playthings, and later hang on Shaft’s arms as props to make Maya jealous.
In 1969, his album Hot Buttered Soul went to number one, with stretched-out renditions of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Walk On By.” Primarily, Hayes wrote for others or performed other people’s songs, but with “Shaft,” that all changed. The music was entirely his, and as he told director Gordon Parks, Hayes would have preferred it be his even more.
Ernest felt the movies had made Shaft into a comic book character,” she says. Ernest couldn’t understand why the filmmakers felt a need to change him. He was especially disappointed with the last one ( Shaft in Africa , 1973).” Still, Tidyman’s unhappiness didn’t stop him from penning the successful sequel, both the novel and screenplay for Shaft’s Big Score in 1972.
At every turn, the script elevates the men’s quest to achieve peak masculinity in lieu of anything that could be construed as remotely feminine”. Shaft repeatedly decries JJ’s flaws” as the result of his momma’s shit.” From JJ’s healthy diet, respect toward women, avoidance of firearms, and even to the way he dresses, Shaft derides the way a female authority figure has made his son effeminate”.
But then, does anyone going into Shaft expect strict adherence to the continuity of this not-quite-franchise? Unsurprisingly, Roundtree ends up effortlessly stealing the few scenes he’s in, underplaying the kind of punchlines his co-stars deliver with exclamation marks. Which points to the real problem with Shaft and its cranky, ranting private eye hero. Among all the cardinal sins of moviemaking it commits (up to and including reusing an iconic needle drop from a Martin Scorsese movie), the worst is this: It makes Shaft look uncool.
There is potential in the idea hatched by Black-ish creator and Girls Trip co-writer Kenya Barris and Family Guy’s Alex Barnow. The concept allows the past in all its toxic masculinity to push up against modern idea of what is to be a man. There are even times when the comedy works. Jackson makes street poetry out of spinning untold variations on the word muthafucka. He’s also good with pussy, sometimes pronouncing it puss-ay. Don’t accuse this Shaft of not having an arc.
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Barris and Barnow’s script displays glaring homophobia. Not only does Shaft initially accuse JJ of homosexuality, later, when Shaft and JJ visit the war veterans group Brothers Helping Brothers,” Shaft assumes the organization members must be gay. Later, the film confirms his beliefs as a few of the attendees act like caricatures: feminine voices, a roll of the eyes, a flick of the wrist, a sashayed walk. Later, these same men are villainized.
I have a stack of READ and TO READ books that movies were based on, and it’s always fun to dip into it and read the inspiration. A bad movie should not dissuade any reader from checking out the book (for example, BLACK DAHLIA is probably Ellroy’s best book).
John Shaft Jr., a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, enlists the help of his estranged father, John Shaft, to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death. The world’s only golf shafts capable of both generating and actuating kinetic energy.
JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide. Absent throughout JJ’s youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem’s heroin-infested underbelly. And while JJ’s own FBI analyst’s badge may clash with his dad’s trademark leather coat, there’s no denying family. Besides, Shaft’s got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that’s professional and personal.
These shafts may be fletched with a slip-on” style of plastic fletching because of their exposure to water. Many times, however, these arrows are not fletched because they fly such a short distance. The way he looked really resonated with the people who watched the film and subsequently analyzed it,” Joe Aulisi, the costume designer for the original 1971 film starring Richard Roundtree, tells The Post.
An unofficial count of the audience at a Shaft” press preview found 14 white people in the (full) theater, all of whom were in rows reserved for press. In fact, most of the people in the press rows were white. That’s to be expected: A 2018 USC study found that just over 76 percent of film critics are white. That doesn’t mean that white men — or white women, a demographic that includes me — aren’t qualified to review the movie, which is a sequel to the 1971 classic of blaxploitation. But it is an issue, and we’ll get to that.
Yet, even if Samuel L. Jackson has started in a re-make and seems to be intent on making another soon, one may wonder what is so special about this detective, crime thriller. JJ Shaft, a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, enlists his family’s help to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death.
In I picked this up after watching the 2000 remake of “Shaft” starring Samuel L. Jackson. I had been meaning to see if there were any books as the basis for the ‘Shaft’ stories, and the 2000 movie reminded me to resume the search. The 1971 movie with Richard Roundtree was an event, but I had a hard time following the story. Fortunately, this first book – in what turns out to be a series of seven – is the basis for the 1971 movie which follows the story almost as closely as Tinseltown ever can.
Poor Usher has been through this before; he played the son of Will Smith’s absent character in that misbegotten Independence Day sequel, another movie that seemingly came about because its creators thought the franchise was so appealing to viewers that they’d show up in spite of the cast changes. It’s easy to blame newer actors for not being high-wattage enough to compete with the likes of Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock, and other superstars of recent vintage. But it’s hard for performers like Thompson, Usher, and Hemsworth to shine their brightest in the shadows of so much mindlessly, purposelessly built-up IP.
Jessie T. Usher as John “JJ” Shaft III, an FBI agent, estranged son of the younger Shaft and grandson of the original Shaft. Usher pairs nicely with the elder Shaft as a prototypical millennial, a fact that raises a fair amount of banter from Jackson’s Shaft, since JJ doesn’t share his tendency for violence.
è difficile non leggere “shaft” e non ripensare al mitologico film che ne venne tratto: già le prime pagine sono esattamente la meravigliosa sequenza introduttiva del film, perennemente legata alla colonna sonora di isaac hayes.
The original Shaft suffered from a lack of proper pacing, due largely to the editor’s uncertainty as to where that film was going. Samuel Jackson at his finest. Hilarious with a good bit if action. He’s getting old, but he improved with age.
Shaft” is taking a page out of the Creed” book this year. Just as Sylvester Stallone passed the Rocky” baton to Michael B. Jordan, Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson will pass the Shaft” baton to star Jessie Usher. As seen in the new trailer released by Warner Bros., three generations of Shaft” stars will be colliding in the new reboot, previously titled Son of Shaft ” but now opting for the much simpler Shaft.” Set for release this summer, the movie will be the fifth installment in the action franchise.
Roundtree starred as John Shaft I in the original 1971 classic and its subsequent sequels. Jackson starred as his nephew, John Shaft II, in the 2000 film starring Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, and Christian Bale. A relative newcomer, Usher will play the son of Jackson’s character in the new film. Usher is best known as the lead of Starz basketball sitcom Survivor’s Remorse, which is executive produced by LeBron James, and also features in Creed 2.” Shaft” also stars Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, and Method Man.
Reading this book I wonder if Shaft has ever had a happy day in his life. The book can be a ponderous read at times because Shaft ponders everything. Nothing is just surface, everything is fodder for Shaft’s dark and dolorous musings. There’s a dark cloud Shaft is a deep book. Oh, not in the sense that it touches on deep issues and ponders difficult sociopolitical questions, but in the sense that it puts you in Shaft’s head and he thinks deep thoughts about everything.
It’s hard not to be on board with the liveliness and the generally sharp writing. The film starts off so well, too, and as most movies really should, in 1989 Harlem. Regina Hall (Maya) is dressing down Shaft for his reckless life choices and he’s not really having it, but their conversation gets interrupted by an ambush that almost kills Maya and the baby we find out later is in the back seat. So Maya moves upstate to the suburbs with little John Shaft Jr. (or J.J.) to raise him away from danger (and his father).
The article focuses on plot-related clashes, but while the storyline is muddled, the movie’s real problems are tone and character. The lack of either creates a new void at the center of the series. Hiring the charismatic Thompson and Hemsworth makes the situation worse, rather than better, because they’ve both been so much better elsewhere, including in Thor: Ragnarok. Thompson’s Agent M works hard and gets what she wants, which means little of consequence happens to her as a character. The movie is accidentally about the futility of carrying on Men in Black business as usual.
That the onetime new” Shaft should become something of an anachronism is one of the more intriguing ideas in the script (by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and fellow TV comedy veteran Alex Barnow). Jackson was already in his 50s—which is to say, way too old for the role—when he starred in Singleton’s Shaft. Now that the actor is in his 70s, his Shaft, with his Grecian Formula goatee and protruding belly, might even cut a pathetic figure. He’s never learned how to use a computer, but he’s still playing the lothario, still hitting the clubs, still speeding around Manhattan in an overcompensating muscle car.
First novel in the series by Ernest Tidyman written and set in the early 70’s. The original movie “Shaft” stayed pretty close to this book. Richard RoundtreeJohn Shaft, Sr. Samuel L. Jackson is the titular detective in Friday’s Shaft,” teaming with his father (Roundtree) and son (Jessie T. Usher) to tackle a case set in Harlem’s underworld.
Shaft” is also funny, with a sharp, fast-paced humor (though one transphobic joke is a tone-deaf clunker). And it’s always enjoyable to watch Jackson walking around while dropping f-bombs (and mother-f-bombs) all over the place. Director Tim Story makes some great visual homages to the 1971 Shaft,” but he does miss the mark sometimes. His fight scenes are often too chaotic, and one scene fetishizes violence so much that Quentin Tarantino might blanch.
It was nice to see a movie that didn’t have a social or political agenda behind it and didn’t pander to people who are easily offended. This movie showed that not everyone likes being a sensitive soft person. I really hope that movies can continue to break boundaries like this because it’s a refreshment of our ability to enjoy humour without taking it personally. Plot was awesome and solid and the humour made it unbelievably enjoyable.
So what happens when a movie franchise built on specific movie stars tries to continue without them? Men in Black: International and Shaft spent their dismal opening weekends exploring the worst-case scenario. They’re the latest casualties in a sequel-saturated summer where almost every follow-up without Avengers in the title has underperformed. It turns out not every series can casually pull off a James Bond-style reinvention with new players.
But even in the 1971 original, sexual and gender politics were far less troubling. Back then, Shaft even had a gay friend of sorts, a barman who he treated as his equal, but somehow almost 20 years later, every reference to homosexuality is dripping in bile. While 70s Shaft might have been dismissive about the women he was having sex with, he didn’t feel the need to pause the film to give a sermon about how all women desperately want and need to be treated with unquestioned strength and power, something that the modern incarnation deems necessary. It would be one thing if the film presented him as a dinosaur but the script, from Black-ish creator and Girls Trip co-writer Kenya Barris and Family Guy’s Alex Barnow, is too busy hero-worshipping him to bother finding fault.
What does it mean to call Shaft” a black film? Simply that, when weighing a story with as heavy a legacy as this one, the race of the person holding the scale matters. A shaft fit is essential to optimized performance and lower scores. Answer a few simple questions and let LA Golf Shafts match you with the best shaft.
Shaft has double the attitude (and the book double the pages) of Mike Hammer or James Bond, and replaces secret agent savoir fair with superhuman street smarts. Similar to the movie, you have to follow the plot carefully – Tidyman makes no effort to hold your hand. But I can see why it became a movie, with its 1970 frankness, open acknowledgement of racial differences, contemporary language, hyper manliness, and edgy plot.
The next day, Sasha accompanies JJ and Shaft II to investigate the mosque, where they are removed from the premises after the imam notices JJ’s FBI badge. Shaft II convinces JJ and Sasha to have a romantic dinner together, and the Shafts next investigate a convenience store owned by a woman named Bennie Rodriguez who donated $500,000 to the mosque. Maya calls JJ to inform him that she is coming to New York to meet a man for a date; she is overheard and followed by Shaft II. The Shafts, each on his own date, survive two separate assassination attempts orchestrated by Bennie, and Maya forces Shaft II to kick JJ out of the investigation for his own safety.
Shaft Jr. evidently did not inherit his father’s sense of style, and Jackson’s character takes fashion potshots, as he’s done in past movies. Director Tim Story, working from a punchy script by Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow, delivers a Shaft” that blends the old school and the new.
Better than the film, very entertaining and realistic. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series as soon as possible. For whatever reason, one could wonder why this is among the best 1,000 Movies Ever Made. Carbon-fiber shafts may be fletched with feathers or plastic vanes, depending on the archer’s personal preference.