Continuing from Shaft (2000), this film focuses on the next generation of Shaft, aka Shaft Jr (Jessie T Usher). Shaft Jr works for the FBI as an analyst and has generally lived a good, quiet life since being raised by his mother. His mother has deliberately kept him away from his father to protect him from possible harm and bad influences. But after Shaft Jr receives the news that his best friend has died, Shaft Jr feels he has no choice but to request the assistance and help of his father (Shaft Snr (Samuel L Jackson)) whom he hasn’t spoken to in a very long time. Shaft Snr is now a private eye detective, and soon after they meet, they pair up to solve the case.
Along the way, Shaft Snr and Jnr discover how different they are from one another and yet Shalf Jnr can’t deny that the Shaft blood and similar habits to his father flows within his veins. Shaft Jnr begins to loosen up and slowly becomes more like his Daddy.
I saw the Shaft 2000 in cinemas when it was 1st released. Samuel L Jackson played a fun and yet dramatic character. This time in 2019, Samuel L Jackson’s character is playing more of a comic and loose role, rarely playing it seriously, unlike his previous film. Extreme foul language and consistent sexual reference all add to make this what I call a familiar Samuel L Jackson role. As for Shaft Jr, I found the character to be somewhat annoying. Those seeking a Samuel L Jackson fix will generally be pleased, however, if you’re trying to find a solid Shaft film, well.
For me, it’s a disappointing film. Whether you view this film as a sequel or reboot, Shaft 2019 has a few issues. Selected characters including Jr I found annoying, but also side characters in this film are incredibly cheesy. The film’s world feels small, and there are only really a handful of actors during the whole duration. Given some of the effects, mainly when characters are in their car, this film is also using cheap visual effects which are distracting. The lighting during certain scenes is also a tad odd. Action lovers will be disappointed when they only find a couple of quick shoot out scenes.
Overall, I found this to be a dissatisfying sequel/reboot about the legendary character of Shaft. Viewers seeking a Samuel L Jackson “crass fix” will be very pleased, but as a film, we have multiple issues with key characters who are cheesy and the film’s plot is pretty vague. Ultimately all the weakness listed here could be due to the film’s budget. From watching the trailers, I had high hopes and wished for something better compared to the results.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden