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"Shaft"
Review written by: Alex Sandell


If the gun was limp, we'd have
truth in advertising.

What's the story?

John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) has to avenge a black man who was killed by the son of a rich white guy in a racially charged murder.  During the "avenging" process, we have plenty of passionate sex, lots of double entendres, and a bunch of over-the-top gunplay.  Oh, wait, that was the original; this is 29 years later.  What Shaft 2000 gives us is no passionate sex whatsoever, no double entendres, and some really boring, by-the-numbers, gunplay.    

So how is it? (Get to the point, already)

I have witnessed more intriguing storylines on Baywatch.  I've seen better character development  on CBS's Survivor.  I actually laughed harder while watching the 1992 dud, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.  I found action sequences more exciting than anything in this film while taking the "Picture Picture Tour" on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The new Shaft fails in every way.  

With so much potential, where did this film go wrong?  Can you pick out the right answer from the selection given below?  

A.  We have a semi-sequel/sorta-homage to a film whose name was derived from the shaft of a penis.  Yet, nothing is played tongue in cheek, much less . . . well, you get the idea.
B.  We have a main-character whose name was derived from the shaft of a penis, yet he never uses his dick.
C.  We have a purported action-comedy, but there's not really any good action, and the best comedy material we're given is a poop plopping into the toilet.
D.  John Singleton's directing ability has been on a steady decline ever since his tremendous debut film, Boyz N the Hood left the theaters.  Shaft did anything but put him back on the right track. 
E.  Samuel L. Jackson, who fought ferociously with Singleton over the direction the new Shaft should take, has disappointment written all over his face the entire picture.  This makes for one glum Private Dick.
F.  Vanessa L. Williams, Shaft's leading lady, and former Miss America, dethroned for nude photographs in Penthouse magazine, has nothing to do but stand around and watch Shaft's back.  There is no romance, no sex, and, most importantly, no nudity between Shaft and herself.  No nudity?!?  This girl lost her crown by taking it all off for the cameras!  At least Shaft could have squeezed her ass, while commenting on how, when he leaves the country, he seems to "Miss America." Throw us a bone here.  Sure, it may not be "PC," but neither is Shaft.  If you can't do the man justice, what are you doin' him for?
G.  In the original Shaft, the spirit of the film was captured in Isaac Hayes's groovy song.  In the new Shaft, Isaac Hayes's groovy song is the only thing with spirit.
H.  We have an excellent supporting cast that is never used, other than to crack a few jokes, or pop off a couple of bullets.
I.  The movie is as choppy and uneven as this review for it is.
J.  The end "battle" is so anti-climatic, about 10% of the audience just got up and left, even though there was another 5 or 10 minutes of movie.
K.  A film that was meant to make us all feel cool, just leaves everyone cold.
L.  All of the above.

Were you able to choose the correct answer?  If you picked "all of the above", you get to go to the head of the class!  By the end of this celluloid dung-heap, the audience that cheered their way through the beginning credits sat silently, as though they were mourning the loss of a friend.  It was more than disappointment weaving its way throughout the auditorium, it was depression.  Spirits had dropped by the middle of the movie, and instead of getting it back up in the second half, Shaft left us hanging.  

What are you selling us here???

Life outdoors as a viable alternative to watching another rotten remake such as Gone in Sixty Seconds or Shaft.   

If it won an Oscar, what would it be?

"Cinema's Erectile Dysfunction Award" - Shaft

On a scale of 1-10?

4 (Because, as much as I want to, I can't give anything with Sam Jackson in it less than a 4)

Agree? Disagree? Need free counseling from an unlicensed movie junkie? Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com  I want to hear any and all opinions on this film! 

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Text (Copyright) 2000 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. Copy this, without my permission, and I'll get John Singleton to direct remakes of all your favorite movies, and force you to watch them!