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Shaft (2019) Reviewed by The Diva

United States, 13 June 2019

Rated R 

Running time of 1 hour and 51 minutes 
Director: Tim Story 
Written by:Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow
Cast:Samuel L.Jackson, Jessie Usher,Regina Hall,Alexandra Shipp,Richard Roundtree
Release Date:June 14, 2019

WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW.


The Digest

Harlem 1989 John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) and his main squeeze at the time Maya (Regina Hall) are sitting in a car having an argument to end all arguments. She is really busting his chops about being more responsible. He's only half paying attention to her because he is noticing movement outside the car. Trying not to alarm her, he calmly asks her to put her head in his lap, thinking he was asking for a sexual favor, she rejects that request just as gun fire erupts, riddling the car with bullet holes. Shaft smoothly gets out of the car and dispatches all the gunmen. Maya is shaken and reveals their baby son in the back seat all of a year old and declares for the safety of their child, she needs to leave and asks Shaft to stay away from them.

As we watch a montage of years, we see Shaft quit the force and open his detective agency but we also see his son JJ, growing up fatherless but not without Shaft sending a birthday or Christmas gift. Eventually JJ heads of to MIT and later to the FBI where he works as a data analyst.

JJ is a typical nerdy single guy. He carries a flame for Sasha (Alexandra Shipp), his childhood friend. His other childhood friend Karim. is a war vet and recovering addict who has taken his sobriety seriously and is trying to help other vets, but something is bothering him. He's not himself

Before JJ can have a talk with Karin about what is bothering him, Karin turns up dead from an apparent overdose. JJ, who can hack anything, hacks into Karim's toxicology report and talks to Sasha, who is a doctor and they discover that that the dose that killed him was so high, he would have been dead before he could finish shooting up.

This discovery leads JJ to defy direct orders and investigate what is now a murder. But JJ has lead a sheltered life and cant navigate the streets to get answers so he turns to the one person he knows will understand the streets - the father he has never met, John Shaft.  

Father and son are on a mission to solve this murder, but first they have to learn to trust and respect each other and how do you do this when you are basically strangers to one another.

The Dish

Lets start with the good stuff. I loved seeing these characters and don't want to wait another 19 years to see them again. I mean hell they fast and furious movies every 18 months it seems. With John Shaft Sr (Richard Roundtree) and and John Shaft Jr. We get what we would expect. Especially from Sam Jackson. Be warned, this is not yo mama's Shaft. The language is a hard R and at times very crude. I actually blushed a few times. I loved that this was a wave to the black community. It was  pretty much FUBU. I loved it for all its blackness. Cultural references for us. That might be seem right or PC, but sometimes my community needs a little cinematic shoutout. That soundtrack was BUMPIN'. I loved Regina Hall's comedic turn. She has amazing comedic timing, she is so underrated in that regard. Sam Jackson slid on his character loke it was a familiar well worn coat. I know this is only his second outing as Shaft, but you would never know it.  It took me awhile to warm up to Jesse Turner's JJ. And this brings me to the not so good stuff. It took about 25-30 minutes for the movie to find its groove. The pacing was off. The editing was off too. It seemed to struggle at times. Now it also doesn't take itself seriously. So thats good. Everyone was there to have fun and make a fun movie and they came pretty close. If it could have just shaken itself out those first 30 minutes, it would have been flawless. 

The Directive

This is going to be an audience pleaser, not so much a critic pleaser. But that's okay. Go watch it and get some big belly laughs out of it, I did. And hopefully we'll visit the Shaft family again

3.5/5

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  • Genre: Movies
  • Runtime: 111 mins

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