Shaft Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: Samuel L. Jackson; Sasha Arias; some good jokes Cons: Predictable and formulaic; exaggerated characters; Actually, there is a little left from the action movie in the film. Shaft / “Shaft”

Genre Comedy, Action
Director Tim Story
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson (John Shaft II), Jesse Asher (John “JJ” Shaft Jr.), Richard Roundtree (John Shaft I), Alexandra Shipp (Sasha Arias), Regina Hall (Maya Babanikos), Avan Jogia ( Karim Hassan), Matt Lauria (Major Harry Catworth), Titus Welliver (Special Agent Vietti), etc.
New Line Cinema Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures, Netflix
Year of release 2019
IMDb website

The original Shaft (1971), based on Ernest Tidyman’s novel of the same name, was, along with Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, one of the first films in the blaxploitation genre. This subgenre of exploitation film was created specifically for African Americans living in cities. All the positive characters in such films were black, the negative ones were white, slang, profanity, typical ghetto accents, and funk and soul music were actively used. The genre became popular in the 70s and 80s. last century, it is believed that the appearance of such films was made possible thanks to the victory of the movement for equal rights in the United States and the increased influence of black America. On the other hand, blaxploitation perpetuated some stereotypes regarding African Americans, which over time were transferred to films of other genres.

After the success of Shaft (1971), Ernest Tidyman, who by that time had received an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award and a Writers Guild of America Award for the screenplay of The French Connection (1971), wrote seven more novels about the same character, among which there were things with such strange titles like Shaft Among the Jews, Shaft Has a Ball, The Last Shaft, etc. Literally the next year, a sequel, Shaft’s Big Score, was filmed! (1972), and a year later – the threequel Shaft in Africa (1973). In 1973-74. Shaft was airing on CBS. The title role in all three films and the series was played by actor Richard Roundtree.


In 2000, the series was recalled, and Richard Roundtree returned to his role of John Shaft, however, here he played the uncle of the main character, John Shaft II, played by… that’s right, Samuel L. Jackson. Shaft (2000) was quite successful; with a budget of $46 million, the film grossed $107 million, but the series was again forgotten for a long time.

Shaft (2019), already the third film with a similar title (and if you count the series, then the fourth), is a remake/reboot/sequel of both the 2000 film and the original 1971 film. Why do we need films in the genre in 2019? blaxploitation, it’s not entirely clear, but this time the authors decided to approach the topic from a slightly different angle. Shaft (2019) is more of a generational comedy than an action film. And along with the same John Shaft I (Richard Roundtree), now not an uncle, but still the father of the protagonist, and John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson), John “JJ” Shaft III (Jesse Usher) also acts here ).


JJ was raised separately from his father and does not approve of his methods of conducting an investigation. Like a typical millennial, he relies on rules, law, computers and does not like violence and weapons, although he graduated from the FBI academy. JJ can’t explain himself to Sasha (Alexandra Shipp), whom he has liked since childhood, is afraid of his own mother and wants to impress his superiors. But when his friend Karim dies under mysterious circumstances, JJ comes to his father for help. Naturally, John Shaft Sr. will awaken in his son a thirst for adventure, force him to explain himself to the girl, and together they will find those responsible for Karim’s death.


Actually, the main problem of Shaft (2019) is its incredible predictability and stereotypes. The film seems to use tropes and story arcs straight out of the 70s. Yes, it has become a little more politically correct, but it still plays up the incredible masculinity of black guys and the temperament and talkativeness of black women. Just like in the 70s, everyone, okay, almost everyone, the good characters here are dark-skinned, and all the negative ones are white. It seems that Tim Story has been passionate about making a film in the blaxploitation genre since early childhood and was finally able to realize his dream.


No, there are undoubtedly some good jokes about millennials in the film, but overall this is a 100% exploitation film and you shouldn’t expect much from it. Shaft (2019) is worth watching if you are a fanatical fan of Samuel L. Jackson and don’t miss any of his films.


The fifth coming of Shaft, this time with jokes about millennials

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