Movie Review, ‘Shaft’

By Randy Pelish

Just as politically correct superheroes have dominated mainstream cinemas for years cleansing the world of evil, the creators of the 2019 reboot of the classic and profitable Shaft films of the early 1970s have sent three generations of the politically incorrect John Shaft’s family to Harlem once again to save their world.  Audiences should be delighted by the result.

Shaft’s son J.J., an M.I.T. graduate and F.B.I. cybersecurity expert enlists his estranged father to solve the murder of his best friend next.  It is not an easy alliance.  Dad’s dangerous lifestyle and indifferent parenting drove his parents apart 25 years ago.  Neither mother nor son wants anything to do with him.  However, before the 111-minute crime film is over, just like the fictional superheroes, the fictional Shaft family has triumphed over evil.

At the very heart of the success of these films lies Samuel L. Jackson.  Jackson, very much like the very real Muhammed Ali, floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.  His irreverent charm, his animal masculinity, his black pride, his street smarts, and his love for his family finally overwhelms J.J. and the urban monsters who would enslave not just Harlem but the entire world.

A consummate actor, Jackson has rarely been better.  Jessie T. Usher as J.J., Regina Hall as J.J.’s mother, Alexandra Shipp as his inevitable lover, and Richard Roundtree reprising the role he created in 1971 round out a fine cast.

This urban fantasy is a delight.  Don’t miss it.

Shaft is currently playing at movie theaters in Reno.

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