Written by Kenya Barris (Blackish/Grownish/Mixed-ish)/Alex Barnow, directed by Tim Story, and starring Samuel Jackson and Jessie T. Usher, Shaft (2019), (a follow up to Jackson’s 2000 installment of Shaft) focuses on John Shaft, Jr., (Usher) enlisting the help of his father (Jackson) to solve the mystery surrounding the death of a close, childhood friend.
Shaft (2019), while billed as action/comedy/crime, maintains elements from the much less funny original Shaft (1971) with drug families/kingpins, heroin deals, a crumbling/crime-riddled/dope infested, Harlem, lots of profanity (some of it is pretty funny, depending on your sense of humor and tolerance for foul language), and the N word is still acceptable to use. This could have been a difficult movie to execute given today’s politically correct climate, but it is thoughtfully balanced using a “millennial vs. older generation” approach to examine what once was acceptable and what isn’t so cool to do or say today, as each generation learns something from the other. Toxic masculinity is touched on in a smart, subtle way that doesn’t feel preachy at all.
Regina Hall is just nuts with her loud, hilarious, hysterical, rantings. By the end of the movie I was sick of her mouth in a hilarious sort of way. Usher can be a pretty funny guy. He reminds me of Nick Cannon at times. Jackson does what Jackson does and he does it well, as usual. And it is always a treat to see Richard Roundtree.
The humor is enjoyable as the jokes land well and without feeling forced most times. I must say, the cussing gets to be a bit much after a while, when the cuss is used as the joke over and over again. This repetitive mechanism diminished the quality of the film as the words started to strike my ear as annoying and overdone. I’m not easily offended by cuss words and use them with vigor in my private life and even once in a while on this here blog when I feel no other word will do, so I’m not easily offended by cursing. It’s just that sometimes, less is more and in this case, a little editing would have gone a very long way.
The story, while formulaic and mostly predictable, is mostly well written and very well paced. The addition of the issue of health care for veterans and how war is sometimes used to cover up other activities is interesting (even though we’ve seen this device/situation before as a means of moving drugs). Some of the key elements of the plot are “talked through” rather than put into scenes in the actual movie, which weakens the story, but I’ll allow it because the movie is just about the perfect length at an hour and 51 minutes. (Although it was somewhat enjoyable, the musical montage in the beginning could have been cut to make way for more present day story telling. We get it. Shaft was an absent father. No need to belabor the point. His Christmas presents are hilarious though.) The music/soundtrack is energetic. The action is adequate with gun-to-gun, hand-to-hand, knife-to-gun battles.
Shaft earned 7 bloops out of 10. I would have rated it 6.0, but whatever problems the movie may have had, I was invested in it and enjoyed it from beginning to end, so I gave it an entire extra bloop. Shaft is light, enjoyable, time-killing, summer fare that doesn’t pretend or attempt to be anything other than what it is, plot holes and all. And I would watch it again someday. Not now of course. I have too many more movies to see… but someday.
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1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
What I’m seeing next…
I am still way behind in my movie viewing/reviewing.
6/21 Child’s Play
7/5 Spiderman: Far from Home
7/5 Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
7/12 21 Bridges
7/19 The Lion King
7/26 Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
8/2 The New Mutants
8/9 The Kitchen
Then there is a load of questionable movies between 8/9 and 9/6 that don’t look very interesting at all, until we arrive at –
9/6 It: Chapter Two
9/13 The Goldfinch
9/12 Spies in Disguise
9/20 Rambo: Last Blood
9/20 Downton Abbey
Other Reviews (Please excuse the look of this section. It is STILL a work in progress.)
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
If Beale Street Could Talk
What Men Want
Eighth Grade Vice Roma
Mary Queen of Scots Widows The Favourite
Green Book Halloween Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody Beautiful Boy The Hate U Give
First Man Assassination Nation The Oath
A Star is Born The House with a Clock in Its Walls A Simple Favor
The Predator BlackkKlansman Support the Girls
Peppermint Christopher Robin Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders RBG Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage A Quiet Place Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time Lady Bird I, Tonya
The Florida Project Black Panther Molly’s Game
The Post Phantom Thread Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World Coco The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist Call Me By Your Name
The Shape of Water Marshall The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul Thor: Ragnarok Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother! It Good Time
Atomic Blonde Dunkirk Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming The Big Sick Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me It Comes at Night The Wedding Plan
Wonder Woman Everything, everything King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw Kong: Skull Island Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts A Cure for Wellness Get Out
Hidden Figures Fences Moonlight
Hell or High Water Loving La La Land
Lion Manchester by the Sea Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge Nocturnal Animals Captain Fantastic
Elle Jackie I Am Not Your Negro