Will the real Shaft please stand up?

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Does the name Richard Roundtree mean anything to you? Anyone that knows anything about the New York-born actor will know he was the first one to personify Shaft. Roundtree played the private investigator in three films and a short-lived television series. Even though it is Roundtree many people instantly think of when discussing Shaft, Samuel L. Jackson continued the story in the 2000 film Shaft.

Jackson originally played Shaft’s nephew, but his character was later retconned to private investigator’s son. In the latest film, there is a reference to John Shaft, Sr (Roundtree) pretending to be John Shaft’s (Jackson) uncle.

The 2000 film honoured the legacy of the family dynasty which began in 1971. Action and social commentary are huge parts of Shaft. The 2000 Shaft is an exceptional production. Nineteen years later, another reboot hits movie theater screens and we find a third generation of the Shaft family doing what the Shafts do best.

The Story Continues…

Jackson returned to the big screen Friday, 14 June 2019 in the iconic title role Shaft. Unlike previous instalments of the franchise, the 2019 production has a comedic feel to it which certain fans of the original will find disappointing. Despite how certain people might feel about the comedy, there is an argument for the comedy adding something meaningful to the franchise. Life is not all about drama and or action. There are also degrees of comedy.

Jessie T. Usher, Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree as JJ Shaft, John Shaft and John Shaft, Sr, respectively, in the Tim Story directed 2019 action crime comedy Shaft.
Jessie T. Usher, Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree as JJ, John and John, Sr, respectively, in the Tim Story directed 2019 action crime comedy Shaft. Image Credit: IMDb.com

The Tim Story-directed film is more about John J. Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher) than it is about his father John and grandfather John, Sr. Maya Babanikos (Regina Hall) left Shaft because she wanted to protect JJ from his father’s influence. More than two decades later, an MIT graduate and cybersecurity expert, is an FBI data analyst. When Karim Hassan (Avan Jogia) is found dead, JJ enlists family for help uncovering the truth behind his best friend’s murder. Even though JJ does not like guns, he certainly knows how to use one.

JJ’s confidence level increases the further we get into the movie. By the end of the film, JJ is every bit as much a Shaft as his father and grandfather. What was the cost of JJ’s confidence? Pretty much everything that made him an individual. Consequently, he became more like his father and grandfather.

Is there a Trailer?

What do you think? Did the comedy spoil the film for you? Please comment.