HEy folks, Harry here with Darth Siskel (constant talkbacker and AICN chatter) and his look at the new SHAFT movie starring Sam "the man" Jackson. Now, the early reviews for this film stated that Shaft never laid down with a woman in the film, which many SHAFT fans felt was... bogus and uncool. We've had reviews from folks like Segue Zagnut, who had never seen a blaxploitation film before... and didn't care for it. While we had others that thought it was a pretty darn good movie. That was the first round of test screenings. Since those... Singleton has been honing his film, taking on some additional reshoots (according to net rumors these took place in Philadelphia). Now, Darth is in no position to judge this cut vs the earlier cut, but I do know that Darth is not a studio shill (he's reviewed BICENTENNIAL MAN [hated it], TOY STORY II [loved it], SLEEPY HOLLOW [loved it], etc...) and he loves films. So... without further ado... here's the man...
Tonight I Sithed my way into another screening. This time it was the new
John Singleton movie, "SHAFT"...starring Samuel L. Jackson. Hear is my spoiler free review. If you want spoilers, read the script.
I must admit I never saw the original Shaft, but I've seen enough clips to know why it was popular, and know that Shaft is the man. I can't comment on how faithful this is to the old movie material, but I can say I liked it alot.
The new SHAFT movie is tight. This is no Lethal Weapon ripoff, or god forbid The Mod Squad movie. This movie really worked.
SHAFT JUST KICKS ASS!!!
Based on the trailer I thought the movie would be good, but really it was alot more than I was expecting. It was great. Did I say Shaft kicks ass??
Samuel L. Jackson is the man in this movie. I liked Sam in alot of his movies, including of course Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park, etc. but haven't been too impressed with alot of his recent performances. Well this role was made for him. He has an aura of badass all over him. You mess with Shaft and he returns the favor. He has the style only a movie character could have & a way with the women that only James Bond could compete with.
The movie tries not to be too cliche where the story is concerned. The story takes alot of twists and turns and it is rarely predictable. There are alot of villians in this movie. Who will kill who, and who will survive Shaft is all unknown until it unfolds & I wasn't bored for one minute of it.
This movie is full of likeable & well written/performed characters. The main three leads, which I would say are Shaft, Christian Bale as a snobby rich killer, and a Dominican drug lord named 'Peeples' are very strong, convincing presences. The Dominican drug lord is especially funny and steals many scenes, but the movie still maintains a great balance. Everyone steals at least a scene or two. All the other characters, like Busta Rymes as Shaft's driver, and Vanessa Willams as his partner had a good ammount of screen time. None of their parts seemed forced or useless. Even the original Shaft actor had a decent role...not just some two second scene like most cameos are.
Singleton did a great job at the helm. The directing is not at all distracting like say, a Michael Bay movie. He seemed to concentrate on the story, the characters, and no bullshit. Even in this rough cut, Singleton does a good job of telling the story, and even the action was clear & exciting. I do believe Nick Gillard of The Phantom Menace & Sleepy Hollow was the stunt coordinator. It shows.
Another thing that contributed to the movie working so well was it's level of excessive violence. If you're going to depict street violence, I say do it hard and do it real. Yes, Shaft is ruthless. Yes, he blows people away left and right, and he isn't even a cop! But those were the bad guys he shot. They deserved to die. This is a fantasy character, and he is every bit as badass as Dirty Harry, Robocop, or Mad Max. I would expect and hope they make sequels to this movie, because I love this character!
Lastly, the temp music was mostly Shaft's theme music and it worked great.
-DarthSiskel ending transmission- To Communicate With Me Click Here!