REVIEW — “Shaft”
A continuation of John Singleton’s 2000 revival, Shaft is an unfiltered, unapologetic, generational comedy that’s a solid hour and 51 minutes of classic give-no-f**ks Sam Jackson.
A laugh-out-loud riot that will leave audiences grinning, the latest entry in the Shaft dynasty follows JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Jesse T. Usher), an MIT-grad, FBI cyber security agent, and estranged son of NYC’s coolest private eye John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson), as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his friend’s untimely death.
JJ’s efforts lead him on a series of hilarious encounters that reunite him with his father and teach the buttoned-up Ivy-Leaguer how to navigate the streets and live up to the Shaft family name.
The film’s appeal is in its cavalier “tell it like it is” attitude and hard R-rated dialogue—a throwback to 90s action/comedies that allows Jackson room to flex his signature wisecracks. The film is so 90s that it even features a brief cameo by the late great 90s comedian, Robin Harris (Bébé’s Kids).
Now in the grandpa role, original Shaft Richard Roundtree returns to show these whippersnappers how it’s done. And Regina Hall delivers some of the film’s best lines as JJ’s overprotective mother and Shaft’s former flame. In a film packed with scene-stealing performances, Hall shines opposite Jackson as his beleaguered and exasperated ex.
Directed by Tim Story (the Ride Along and Think Like a Man franchises), the film also stars Matt Lauria, Titus Welliver, and Cliff “Method Man” Smith alongside the delightful Alexandra Shipp as JJ’s romantic interest.
Gritty and action-packed like the installments that came before it, Tim Story’s Shaft is a locked-and-loaded good time at the theater that everyone should be able to dig. 4/5