Rolling Stone - 06/08/2000
"...Clearly a labor of love..."
New York Times - 06/16/2000
"...The always dependable and indomitable Samuel L. Jackson as John Shaft...is unmistakably the star..."
USA Today - 06/16/2000
"...Rousing screen entertainment." -- 3 out of 4 stars
Entertainment Weekly - 06/30/2000
"...Flippantly aggressive, down and dirty....Jackson has attitude to burn..." -- Rating: B
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 12/01/2000
"...Mindless fun, a great supporting cast and a classic piece of wardrobe....Make a point of grabbing SHAFT off the video store shelf."
Rolling Stone - 07/06/2000
"...SHAFT scores by lacing ba-da-boom action with social pertinence....[Wright] lets fly with a smashing, funny-scary tour de force..."
Los Angeles Times - 06/16/2000
"...The always excellent Jackson has the presence of a force of nature..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 06/16/2000
"...Not just a retreat of the old movie, but SHAFT as more complicated than before, and with well-observed supporting characters..."
Samuel L. Jackson stars as detective John Shaft, a new-generation "black private dick who's a sex machine with all the chicks" in this stylish, action-packed update of the classic blaxploitation trilogy (SHAFT, SHAFT'S BIG SCORE!, and SHAFT IN AFRICA) from the early 1970s. Shaft's nemesis this time around is Walter Wade Jr. (Christian Bale), a cocky, blue-blooded white kid who commits a violent hate crime but still manages to skirt the system. When Wade forms an unholy alliance with powerful Dominican drug lord Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright) along with two dirty cops from Shaft's own precinct, Shaft turns in his badge to dispense justice on his own terms. Luckily for him, the original Shaft (Richard Roundtree, who is this Shaft's uncle) is around to help out, along with Vanessa Williams as a trustworthy cop, Toni Colette as an eyewitness to Wade's crime, and rapper Busta Rhymes as Shaft's man-on-the-street Rasaan. Director John Singleton (BOYZ N THE HOOD, HIGHER LEARNING) appears in a brief cameo, as does original SHAFT director Gordon Parks; the only creator missing is Ernest Tidyman, who wrote the novel that started it all. And SHAFT fans, take comfort--Isaac Hayes's remake of his classic theme is as funky as ever.
The classic blaxploitation picture from 1971 returns to the big screen with Samuel L. Jackson taking over the title role from Richard Roundtree. Jackson portrays Shaft, nephew of Roundtree's legendary John Shaft. The younger Shaft is a police detective, unlike his uncle, who was a private investigator. His latest assignment is to track down a murderer (Christian Bale) before he kills the woman (Toni Collette) who witnessed his heinous crime. The mere appearance of Roundtree, reprising his original role, gives the revamped SHAFT all the credibility it needs, but it is director John Singleton's spruced-up action sequences, as well as Jackson, that make the movie so entertaining.
Shaft's favorite hangout is the Lenox Lounge, a famous Harlem nightspot built in 1939 that was recently renovated with the help of the filmmakers. Original SHAFT director Gordon Parks makes his cameo appearance seated at a table in the Lenox Lounge.
This is the second time rapper Busta Rhymes has worked with Singleton; he also appeared in HIGHER LEARNING.
Football great Lawrence Taylor has a cameo in the film as Shaft's friend Lamont; Isaac Hayes, performer of the Shaft theme, also appears in the film.
Accents were a challenge for the cast members: Christian Bale, a Brit, had to perfect the delivery of an American preppie, while Jeffrey Wright researched and studied to play a pitch-perfect Dominican.