SHAFT 2019 Feels Like a 90’s Buddy Action Comedy That Breathes Life into an Iconic Franchise (Blu-ray Review)

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Shaft arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD today September 24th! New Line Cinema’s action comedy “Shaft” was directed by Tim Story (the “Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man” franchises) and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Regina Hall and Richard Roundtree. Here is my review of the Blu-ray:

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JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide. Absent throughout JJ’s youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem’s heroin-infested underbelly. And while JJ’s own FBI analyst’s badge may clash with his dad’s trademark leather duster, there’s no denying family. Besides, Shaft’s got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that’s professional and personal.


Review

The original Shaft remake starring Samuel L. Jackson debuted in 2000, and before that the last theatrical outing for John Shaft was the 1973 ‘Shaft in Africa’ back when Richard Roundtree was still portraying the private investigator. I don’t know who decided to wait another 19 years to continue the Shaft legacy, but I’m ecstatic that they did because director Tim Story’s entry into the franchise has injected a healthy dose of comedy and life back into the property. I’d love to see a new movie every three-four years and Jesse T. Usher, who is the new blood, has done an incredible job taking the mantle so to speak from two iconic performers. The way that JJ embraces that “new modern male” attitude and is constantly berated for it — is what drives most of the comedy here and I loved every second. The chemistry between Jessie T. Usher and Samuel L. Jackson is flawless and in particular Usher’s performance in this flick surprised me, considering his character on Amazon Prime’s ‘The Boys’, is NOTHING, like JJ in Shaft (2019). Usher is one helluva talent and my favorite surprise of this film in particular.

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Samuel L. Jackson is a legend in his own right and the way he plays this character doesn’t feel like there was a 19-year break between flicks. He bounces back and forth between a sex-crazed scoundrel and violent vigilante at the drop of a hat. There are some great one-liners in Shaft (2019) and Jackson gets to say most of them, no matter how offensive they would be taken out of context. In today’s culture you don’t often hear a man’s father refer to the mother of his child as “some pussy” but hey, this is a SHAFT movie – so deal with it and throw your sensitivities right out the window. The story could use some work because it feels a little too convoluted incorporating all these FBI, terrorism elements etc – considering where the movie eventually ends up, much of the build-up didn’t make much sense, but the comedy and sharp dialog is what drives the film and keeps it entertaining.

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Richard Roundtree, aka the original John Shaft, pops up in the film’s third act but I would’ve liked to see much more of this legendary actor and I truly hope that there’s enough interest in this franchise where we’ll see more scenes of the man in a sequel some day. Shaft 2019 feels like a 90’s buddy-action film in the best ways possible – and we don’t get too many of those with talented performers like Jackson and Usher headlining, so let’s embrace this bad mother – SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

Special Features

  • Can Ya Dig It? The Making of Shaft
  • A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy – Part One: A Bad Mother Born
  • A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy – Part Two: No Questions Asked
  • A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy – Part Three: A Legend of His Time
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel

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The three part Shaft Legacy is a near-hour long documentary about the original Shaft franchise and it is worth the price of this Blu-ray alone. I wasn’t expecting to see such an in-depth and captivating documentary tacked onto this release but I’m thankful they did – because it automatically propels this home release to must-own status if you’re a fan of early genre cinema. The Making-Of segment is also pretty damn good, but that ‘Complicated Man’ doc made me want to go out and buy the original trilogy of films starring Richard Roundtree.

Rating:

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