Thursday Night Movie Club
Shaft (2000)
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: June 16, 2000

Director: John Singleton
Samuel L. Jackson
Vanessa L. Williams
Jeffrey Wright
Christian Bale
Busta Rhymes
Dan Hedaya
Toni Collette
Richard Roundtree
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Josef Sommer
Lynne Thigpen
Philip Bosco
Pat Hingle
John Shaft
Carmen Vasquez
Peoples Hernandez
Walter Wade, Jr.
Detective Jack Roselli
Diane Palmieri
Uncle John Shaft
Jimmy Groves
Curt Fleming
Carla Howard
Walter Wade, Sr.
Judge Dennis Bradford
Shaft 2000 poster
Samuel L. Jackson (always excellent) stars as Detective John Shaft, nephew of the famous private eye Shaft from the 70's movie. Richard Roundtree reprises the original role in a few comedic "cameos". He doesn't have much to do in this movie.

Come to think of one in this movie has much to do with the exception of Jackson. That may be why I didn't like this movie that much. Samuel L. Jackson "devours the scenery" and just about everything else. He has a powerful screen presence and the movie clearly plays this up to the hilt.

Unfortunately, the bad-guys (one white; the other His panic... I guess you need to be "PC" these days) are neither very mean nor very smart. Shaft seems the meanest of the bunch... i just loved the sound-effects that accompanied his gun being fired.

The story involves the cold-blooded murder of an upscale black man by the wealthy son of a very powerful, but buffoonish, white businessman. The murderer has the presence of mind to threaten the witnesses into silence. Onto the scene comes Shaft, the only cop who seems to care about the killing. I guess this is another sign of the "uncaring, distant" police force. Maybe this is Shaft's motivation for spending the next two years bringing the murderer to justice after he quickly walks. Thanks to the "uncaring, distant" justice system. I have no clear idea why Shaft becomes obsessed with this particular case and this is the reason for my rating.

The rest of the movie is your standard action movie where everyone on the streets of New York are idiots and Shaft is head-and-shoulders above them in the IQ department. The white murder (played by ????? of "American Psycho") is basically type-cast here. Rather then letting his father help with advice and political connections, the son decides to take matters into his own hands and hires a Hispanic drug dealer (Richard Wright???)). The drug dealer is the funniest character mainly because of his heavy accent (oops... PC again). The final shoot-out proves once again that "a man with a 45 is easily better than one with a machine gun".