Directed By: Tim Story
Written By: Kenya Barris & Alex Barnow
Based Upon the character John Shaft from the novel by: Ernest Tidyman
Cinematography: Larry Blanford
Editor: Peter S. Elliot
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Jesse T. Usher, Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Richard Roundtree, Avan Jogia, Luna Lauren Velez, Issach De Bankole, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Matt Lauria, Tashiana Washington
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.
The film is flashier then it is deep, but it is certainly entertaining while distracted by the gloss. As the Previous Reboot of the franchise felt more gritty and mainstream. Here the film comes off so commercial more then having any depth or anything of substance.
This film is more comedic then the previous action-adventure heavy mystery films of this Franchise. It’s also a little softer in material. As there are still plenty of shootings and violence. It never really has any tension or makes you think too much.
As this film really goes to showcase the old versus the new. In terms of not only generations but behavior and thinking. As the son of shaft here working for the FBI as more a data consultant is much more soft and polite. Then the violent, cool and tough shaft. Though the film and the characters still come off as mostly misogynistic.
The film reveals itself in the opening scene that starts off comedic then turns into an action sequence with a dramatic ending of sorts. That sets up the different moments of the son’s growth. Showing scenes of him making friends who will figure into the story and plot. Not to mention set up comedically the difference between him and his father. Through inappropriate gifts.
The film doesn’t help by setting up love interests who are tough talking but generally melt into these men’s arms at the signs of trouble. Though most of the female characters come across as eye candy.
Regina King ends up stealing the movie, even though she is in not too many scenes. You feel her absence. As she definitely makes sure to make her mark.
The film comes across as better than expected. As it is a little hardcore in some scenes to a point but has a certain grace. The mystery element Luckily takes a backseat to the Characters. As the plot already comes off as half baked and feels like a lost episode of a police procedural. As the film feels by the book until older characters and Samuel L. Jackson comes in screen in modern times.
Jessie usher does what is required in the role and works as a comedic foil. In the tougher scenes it’s a little harder to believe his toughness and even being the son of shaft.
Richard Roundtree still comes into the Movie and his role as shaft senior as tough and smooth. Though the third act of the film comes off as similar and a more seriousness I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA.
The film just feels like it is missing the soul of the Shaft character by making it more comedic while trying to show it’s toughness through action scenes. It comes off more as mainstream caricature then anything meaningful. A more commercial African-American action hero/superhero almost
Though sometimes these films live and die by the strength of the villain and this film’s villain doesn’t live up to the hype at all.