Shaft (R)

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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Bloops:

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.

Next up is Men In Black: Internataional (I saw it yesterday) Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Aladdin. Here are a few films I’m looking forward to seeing/reviewing and their release dates:

6/21   Child’s Play
6/28   Yesterday
7/5     Spiderman: Far from Home
7/5     Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
7/12   Stuber
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.)

Rocketman
Shazam
Dumbo
Us
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
The Wife
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

https://s.pubmine.com/sandbox.html

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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
The Lobster

 

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