When you see some real bad attitude - I mean both, real and bad - you know times are getting a little better at the movies. Even if only for a week. For once, those one-liners don't appear a little too smart, and the guy who seemingly monopolizes these one-liners has what it needs to carry them off. He is the good old crusader for minority rights, and he still does it the old way. No snazzy gadgets or the rule of the law for him - not when it forces him to do the same job three times over. Shaft prefers doing it his own way.
Police detective John Shaft (Jackson) arrests Walter Wade (Christian Wade) for assaulting and killing a black guy. Being the son of an influential industrialist, Walter gets out on bail, and gets out of the country, too. It's two years before he decides to come back and Shaft brings him back where he belongs, only for Walter to get away again.
Shaft's had enough of the law, and he quits to get the guy on his own. Ditto with Walter, who takes matters into his own hands. Their task is the same. There is a waitress (Toni Colette) who witnessed the murder, and both want to get to her before the other does. Walter hires a local gangster (Jeffrey Wright) to do the job for him. Some hide 'n' seek later, Shaft gets to the girl and has the baddies all tied up in knots.
The pace of the movie is rather relentless, with something or the other happening. It's just that all the murky going-ons are glossed over pretty conveniently. That is something that sets it apart from being another cheap imitation of the Tarantino brand of movies. The fact that a superhero is at the center of it all makes it look at issues from a black-and-white perspective.
Samuel L Jackson is 'the guy' in the movie. Can you think of another actor
from the present lot who could have played this role? I can't! Cuba Gooding
Jr. would have made the character appear a bit comical, while Denzel Washington
would have been a bit too stiff. Jackson has the star persona and a track record,
which makes sure that he makes Shaft all his own.
This reprise of the '71 original, and another adaptation of a novel of the
same name, is well worth a watch.