Shaft (2000 film)

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Shaft
Shaft (2000 movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Singleton
Screenplay byRichard Price
John Singleton
Shane Salerno
Story byJohn Singleton
Shane Salerno
Based onShaft
by Ernest Tidyman
Produced byScott Rudin
John Singleton
Starring
CinematographyDonald E. Thorin
Edited byJohn Bloom
Antonia Van Drimmelen
Music byDavid Arnold
Production
companies
Scott Rudin Productions
New Deal Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 16, 2000 (2000-06-16)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$46 million[1]
Box office$107.2 million[1]

Shaft is a 2000 American action crime film directed by John Singleton and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa L. Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Dan Hedaya, Busta Rhymes, Toni Collette and Richard Roundtree.

Although the film shares the same title as the 1971 film, it is a contemporary sequel with Jackson's John Shaft character being related to the earlier films' Shaft. The film received generally positive reviews and opened at the number-one position at the box office when it debuted June 16, 2000.

Plot[edit]

Called in to investigate the grievous assault of Trey Howard outside a restaurant, NYPD Detective John Shaft arrests Walter Wade Jr., the son of a wealthy real estate tycoon, after noticing blood on him. Wade claims self-defense. Shaft notices an injured waitress, Diane Palmieri, eyeing Wade, and unsuccessfully tries to coax a statement from her. Trey's friend tells Shaft that when she and Trey entered the restaurant, Wade racially harassed him. Trey humiliated Wade back and left the restaurant, pursued by Wade. Shaft looks for Diane but she has left. Trey goes into a seizure and dies; when Wade mocks Trey, Shaft punches Wade on the nose, and does it again after being threatened with reassignment to another precinct. At the trial, the judge grants Wade bail of $200k. He later calls Shaft to thank him for breaking his nose, and says he has fled to Switzerland.

Two years later, Wade returns to the U.S., and Shaft greets and arrests him. Shaft's friends throw him a celebratory party where the elder "Uncle" Shaft appears and warns him that Wade's wealth raises his chances of acquittal. While Wade is temporarily detained at police headquarters, Dominican drug lord Peoples Hernandez, whom Shaft previously arrested, befriends him. At the hearing, the judge has Wade surrender his passport and sets bail at $1 million. Shaft resigns from the police force, vowing to bring Wade to justice on his own terms.

Shaft searches for Diane but only locates her mother Ann, while Wade offers his deceased mother's jewelry to hire Peoples to go after her. Peoples wants Wade to join him in his drug business, but agrees to the job provided that Wade sells the jewelry. Peoples hires Shaft's former colleague officers Jack Roselli and Jimmy Groves to tail Shaft; the pair reveal a snitch among Peoples' gang who had told Shaft what was happening. Disguised, Shaft and his former partner, Detective Luger, mug Wade of the money he gathered from selling the jewelry. He then plants the money on Roselli and Groves, and makes Peoples think they are double-crossing him. However, after getting word that Shaft has left the scene, they follow him.

Having traced a phone call, Shaft eventually locates Diane, but Peoples' gang attacks them. In the shootout, Shaft kills Peoples' little brother. Diane's brothers Mikey and Frankie arrive to retrieve her, but Mikey is stabbed by Peoples. Shaft, Diane, Rasaan, and Frankie regroup at Rasaan's apartment, secretly followed by Roselli and Groves. Diane tells Shaft her eyewitness account of Wade murdering Trey. Wade threatens her to keep silent, and then she agrees to accept a payoff provided that she disappear. Meanwhile, Peoples angrily attacks Wade over his brother's death.

Roselli and Groves stake out Rassan's apartment but when Carmen arrives and starts asking questions, they shoot her in the chest. Peoples' gang attack, but Shaft shoots back, while Diane and the others flee. Roselli and Groves catch Shaft, who commands Carmen, who was wearing a vest, to kill them. Peoples and his gang pursue and take down Rassan's car. When Peoples holds Diane hostage, Shaft persuades him to fight without weapons, but after a momentary faceoff, they draw backup handguns, with Shaft killing Peoples first.

Shaft assures Trey's mother Carla about the new trial conditions, however, when Wade arrives, she shoots him several times and is subsequently arrested. Back at the police station, Shaft reiterates to Carmen his preference to be a private detective. A woman asks them for help filing assault charges against her abusive boyfriend. Initially hesitatant, he decides to help her via his methods upon seeing her injury. He and his uncle go together to confront the boyfriend, along with Rasaan, whom Shaft presents with a new ride.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Will Smith, Wesley Snipes, and Don Cheadle were considered for the role of John Shaft.[2] Singleton considered Lauryn Hill for the role of Carmen Vasquez.[3]

Release[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 67% based on 115 reviews, and an average rating of 6.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 50 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Box office[edit]

The film opened at the box office at #1 with $21.7 million; by the end of its run, Shaft had grossed $70.3 million in the domestic box office and $107.2 million worldwide, against a $46 million budget.[1]

Merchandise[edit]

In 2000, McFarlane Toys released a Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) action figure as part of their Movie Maniacs series three toy line. Accessories included are a handgun, sunglasses and a replica of the film's poster with a skulls and bones base.

Soundtrack[edit]

A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on June 6, 2000 by LaFace Records. It peaked at #22 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

Sequel[edit]

Despite having an identical title, the 2019 film acts as a second remake-sequel to both this 2000 film and the originals starring Richard Roundtree. The 2019 release stars Jessie Usher as J.J. Shaft, an FBI agent and the son of Samuel L. Jackson's character. Both Jackson and Roundtree reprise their roles, but the film retroactively reveals that Roundtree's character is actually the biological father of Jackson's John Shaft, mentioning that Shaft Sr. spent years pretending to be his uncle.[7] Unlike the 2000 film and the 1970s trilogy, the 2019 installment received mixed reviews and failed at the box office.[8][9]

Further reading[edit]

  • Aldous, Steve (2015). "Shaft Returns". The World of Shaft: A Complete Guide to the Novels, Comic Strip, Films and Television Series. McFarland. pp. 211–219. ISBN 9781476622231.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]