Reviewed by Ken M. Wilson
Rating: 8 Beans
here are those amongst you who hated "Forrest Gump." There are those amongst you who hated "Titanic." There are even some of you out there that hated "Star Wars." These people are usually scorned for not going along with public opinion on movies that are generally loved by one and all... but I'm here to tell you, "Shaft" sucks.
For years I have listened to people claim that Richard Roundtree is a good actor that, with "Shaft," brought new appeal to black cinema. Bull shit. Sidney Poitier did all that and did it well. "Shaft" is also considered one of the better films of the genre that "Sweet Sweetback" ushered in with that shot heard 'round the ghetto -- blaxploitation. Let's face it, most people (black and white) didn't get out to the theatre to see these films let alone even know they were out there to be viewed.
"Shaft" stars, as mentioned, Richard Roundtree as John Shaft -- the toughest dick around. When a local mobster hires Shaft to find his kidnapped daughter, Shaft bumps heads with Black nationalists as well as the Mafia in his pursuit to return the poor girl.
It's amazing that this film is of such poor quality considering that it was created by MGM. The film itself seems grainy, the dialogue wooden, and Shaft's voice is so blatantly dubbed that I wondered for a while if I was watching an old Godzilla monster movie.
It's easy to understand why this film was popular with its target audience in the early 1970s... John Shaft doesn't take any shit from anyone be them white, black, or whatever. Shaft is also undiscriminating when it comes to sleeping with the ladies -- although he seems happy at home with a wife and two kids he doesn't think twice before hopping into the sack with Linda, the white woman with the "titilating boobs" -- they're quote, not mine.
I expected to be as charged as I was when watching Isaac Hayes' "Truck Turner" because I was easily put into the mood when the infamous Shaft theme song started up. I'm glad that this film at least netted Hayes an Oscar for the music is sweet as hell. Yet, "Shaft" left me feeling limp. Damn.
The only thing other than the music that made me smile was spying a young Alan Weeks which solidfies my theory that he, not Kevin Bacon, is the center of the entertainment world. Ok, ok... so he's at least the center of the blaxploitation world. At last count he's been in "Shaft," "Black Belt Jones," and "Truck Turner." So, hats off to Weeks. Oh yeah. "Shaft" still sucked, though.
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