A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn't get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.
New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.
Samuel L. Jackson,
The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.
Millie Bobby Brown
JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (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 (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 coat, there's no denying family. Besides, Shaft's got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that's professional and personal.
Who has Humor, Action and Edge with a Modern, Though Unbalanced Twist, SHAFT!
Television shows hold a history for many, teaching life lessons and telling stories that would stick with the public for ever. Sometimes catchy theme songs are the main things that stay behind, but for others, legendary episodes remain in the minds. So with the drought of originality still plaguing Hollywood, the goal is to bring some of these television shows to the silver screen venue to try to make them fresh again. Robbie K is back to look at the latest movie in hopes of helping guide your movie pleasures. Let's get started as we look at:
Movie: Shaft (2019)
Kenya Barris, Alex Barnow
Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree
Lack of Suspense
Aggressive Sexual Humor
Lazy Writing At Times
Weak Character Development
The Grandpa Inclusion
Shaft's character is legendary and requires a key actor to bring it to life. Samuel L Jackson is the guy to do it, bringing his hard edge and direct, forceful acting to really bring the cop with no fear to life. He balances so much into the role, like seeing Nick Fury in a rated R role, that is certainly entertaining to watch. Jessie T. Usher as the new generation of Shaft helps sort of balance the aggressiveness of Jackson, acting as a grounding force to tie all the group together. He's charming, funny, but then evolves a bit into something more that works well in the atmosphere of the movie. As for Roundtree, his reprisal is a nice throwback, but it has been tweaked to have a bit of modern aggressive edge on it as well to remain in the new rules of the movie. The rest of the cast play their parts well, but not integrated enough too much to take time at this time. Instead let's jump into the action, the modern day has choreography and technology capable of making those epic shoot outs a little more exciting. Shaft achieves this fairly well, sometimes using it for humor and other times having that flair that the show made famous. If you've read through all this review so far, you can see that nostalgia seems to be a key factor to enjoying this film, to which I was able to find a few references to the series, with other audience members finding even more. That component will be a key entertainment value to many and a selling point for the movie. Now in regards to the other two components, they have to do with the story and atmosphere of the movie. Shaft's main story component is about the mystery of the case at hand and how it will connect our characters together. Shaft's multilayered mystery feels like a blend of the loose cannon cop's greatest adventure all connected to one, you'll find yourself trying to sort out the threads of scandal seeing the true source that connects them all. During the course there is some attempts at developing the characters, but those moments are reserved for the comedy aspect. The laughs of this movie are brought by the edgy delivery of Jackson's lines, the continued adulteration of JJ's life, and the fiery passion of a mother trying to handle the stress of life. It's very well integrated through the movie and is utilized decently to actually progress things rather than a simple laugh. It felt natural and true to the character, which I find important.
Yet the movie's pluses may have led to some of my dislikes as well, primarily in the part of being too aggressive. Shaft and company are not shy to using aggressive styles of humor and while it works at times to perfect levels, there are times where it gets too much for this reviewer. Various descriptions of sex and genitalia only goes so far for me, and the rather boorish description of various genitalia is a little more offensive than fun at times. In addition, my description of lazy writing is at full front here, with Shaft getting too dependent on the use of these expletives to remain entertaining for me. Working on the character development could have taken point instead, working harder to start expanding on back stories, histories, feelings and other qualities to help connect these characters. It start happening at some points of the movie, but more potential existed in those characters than what we got, again lost to comedy and modern time violence. As for the grandfather inclusion, I'll acknowledge the inclusion of the original for sake of honoring the man who brought the series, but I wanted more. Given the showcase in the trailers, I had expected a little more inclusion, and while the ending brought the excitement I was looking for, the original Shaft probably could have had a little more inclusion overall.
The truth is Shaft is going to be geared towards those seeking to go back in time and relive the criminal hunting cop's adventures. A modern edge certainly helps make it relevant in the 21st century, adding new style, comedy, and mystery to raise the stakes and try to entertain, while securing fine acting in its cast of characters. Yet, the movie suffers from imbalance, more so in terms of aggressive humor and lackadaisical writing where cursing and sex phrases are the key. I'm not saying that ruins the movie, I was just looking for more of a balance for what I got. Nevertheless, the movie has enough fine points to warrant a trip to the movie, though only at about a 50% as much can be enjoyed from home. Nevertheless, here are my scores:
Movie Overall: 6.0
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