Friday, September 3, 2010
Directed by John Singleton
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christian Bale, Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Toni Collette, Dan Hedaya, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Busta Rhymes, Lee Tergesen, Daniel Von Bargen, Richard Roundtree, Pat Hingle, Josef Sommer, Philip Bosco
If there ever was to be a remake of the 1971 blacksploitation classic by the same name, it was only fair that the godfather of cool, Sam Jackson would play the part. And so it happened and it is all good. After all, it is his duty to please that booty. And the audience.
A murder of a young black customer has taken place outside a posh New York restaurant and an obnoxious rich white guy Wade (Bale) is to blame. Detective John Shaft (Jackson) is on his tail but Wade skips bail and country. Shaft takes it upon himself to get the killer who has now also involved a local gangster (Wright in the role of a lifetime) to kill off the only witness (Collette) to his crime.
The original Shaft was a milestone not only in the black community but in 70's cinema all together. What followed was a massive boost on the self-esteem of the black community to see a fellow black man as the hero and the leading star of a major motion picture. It started a whole culture of blacksploitation cinema and was followed by films like Foxy Brown, Coffy and the two sequels to Shaft. Roundtree who played the titular role in the original has a supporting role as "uncle John" in this remake and proper cameos are aplenty. Also to show their faces are director of the original film, Gordon Parks and John Singleton himself.
Shaft is a very entertaining action film. It doesn't mean as much as the original in the way that it would appeal to a certain audience more than others because now it's underlying themes are of unity, especially displayed by the professional relationship between Shaft and his (at first seemingly racist) partner Luger (Tergesen from HBO's "Oz"). As perfect and comfortable as Jackson is as John Shaft, the cream of the crop is Wright who really goes all out with his hispanic drug gangster. The mannerisms and accent of his performance are what great and above all, unique performances are all about. This role is his Jack Sparrow if you will.
Legendaarisen blacksploitaatioklassikon uusintaversio on onnistunut toimintaelokuva, jonka pahisten sivuroolit nousevat jopa Jacksonin sinänsä hienon pääosan ylitse. Tämä leffa tuskin mullistaa yleisöään kuten alkuperäinen vuonna 1971, mutta toisaalta teematkin ovat vaivattomasti päivittyneet vuosituhannen taitteeseen.
Shaft at IMDb
The original Shaft at IMDb