ⓘ Shaft (2000 film)

                                     

ⓘ Shaft (2000 film)

Shaft is a 2000 American action thriller 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 is essentially a remake of the 1971 film of the same name, it is also a storyline sequel, making it the canon fourth installment, with Jacksons 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.

                                     

1. Plot

In 1998, NYPD Detective John Shaft II, nephew of Detective John Shaft I, is called in to investigate the grievous assault of Trey Howard outside of a restaurant. Shaft arrests Walter Wade, Jr., the son of a wealthy real estate tycoon, after noticing blood on him and Wade claims he acted in self-defense. However, Treys friend tells Shaft that when she and Trey entered the restaurant, Wade racially harassed him. Trey humiliated Wade in response and left the restaurant, and Wade followed after him. Shaft notices a waitress, Diane Palmieri, eyeing Wade and tries to coax a statement from her but she claims to have not witnessed anything and disappears from the scene. When Wade mocks Trey after he dies on the ambulance stretcher, Shaft punches him and is suspended. Later, Wade phones Shaft to taunt him that because of the punch, he was granted bail on the homicide charge and has fled to Switzerland.

Two years later, Wade returns to the country and Shaft rearrests him. During his temporary detention at police headquarters, Wade befriends Peoples Hernandez, a Dominican drug lord whom Shaft previously arrested. At his bail hearing, the judge makes Wade relinquish his passport in exchange for being released on bail again; in frustration, Shaft resigns from the police force, promising to bring Wade to justice on his own terms. Worried that Shaft might find the missing eyewitness, Wade hires Peoples to find and kill her first.

Shaft continues his search for Diane, enlisting the help of his friends Detective Carmen Vasquez and taxi driver Rasaan. While visiting Dianes uncooperative mother, Shaft and Carmen realize they are being followed by officers Jack Roselli and Jimmy Groves, whom Peoples has promised a cut of the payment to follow Shaft and get to Diane. In disguise, Shaft and his former colleague, Detective Luger, rob Wade of the jewels he was going to fence to get Peoples payment. They plant the jewels on Roselli and Groves to make Peoples think he is being double-crossed. However, Roselli and Groves spot Shaft fleeing the scene and realize they are being set up and resume tailing Shaft.

Shaft traces a number Dianes mother called and finds Diane being protected by her brothers Mike and Frank. Before they can talk, Peoples gangbangers attack them. In the shootout, Shaft kills Peoples younger brother and Mikey is injured. Shaft, Diane, Rasaan, and Frank take shelter at Rasaans apartment, secretly followed by Roselli and Groves. While at the apartment, Diane admits seeing Wade murder Trey. Wade then made her keep silent in return for a payoff from Wades father. Meanwhile, Peoples attacks Wade in anger over his brothers death.

Peoples and his gangbangers arrive at Rasaans apartment but Shaft engages them in a shootout and everyone flees through the fire escape. Roselli and Groves try to kill Shaft but Carmen comes up behind them and she and Shaft kill the corrupt officers. The shootout spills into the city streets where Shaft and Carmen kill the gangbangers but Rasaans cab crashes alongside Peoples vehicle. Peoples takes Diane hostage with an ice pick. Shaft puts his gun down and convinces Peoples not to do Wades dirty work and instead to have a one on one fight. Peoples releases Diane and drops his ice pick. Peoples makes like he is ready to fight Shaft but then draws his gun from his back; Shaft pulls his backup gun and kills Peoples first.

Wades trial finally arrives. Shaft tells Treys mother, Carla Howard, that the trial will have a new judge, the D.A. as prosecutor, and an eyewitness. However, before the trial can begin, Carla guns down Wade on the courthouse steps and she is arrested. In the police station, Shaft reiterates to Carmen that he prefers to be a private detective. A woman arrives, asking Shaft for help filing assault charges against her abusive boyfriend. Shaft is initially reluctant, but when he sees her injury, he decides to help her via his methods. Shaft, along with John Shaft I and Rasaan, go together to confront the abusive boyfriend.

                                     

2. Release

Critical reception

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

Box office

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.

Merchandise

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 films poster with a skulls and bones base.

                                     

3. Soundtrack

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.

                                     

4. Sequel

Despite having an identical title, the 2019 film Shaft acts as a second remake-sequel to both this 2000 film and the originals starring Richard Roundtree. The 2019 release stars Jessie Usher as John "JJ" Shaft Jr, an FBI agent and the son of Samuel L. Jacksons character. Both Jackson and Roundtree reprise their roles as John Shaft II and John Shaft Sr., respectively, and the film retroactively reveals that Roundtrees character is actually the biological father of Jacksons John Shaft, mentioning that Shaft Sr. spent years pretending to be his uncle. Unlike the 2000 film and the 1970s trilogy, the 2019 installment was critically panned and failed at the box office.