It was only on the list for a brief amount of time, but I consider the 1971 classic Shaft to be one of the greatest films of all time. Taking classic noir/action tropes and revitalizing them with a then-unique angle, Shaft gave the African-American community their own James Bond/Phillip Marlowe years before Black Panther changed the game. The original film sparked four sequels, including an ok-received 2000 version that was revealed to be a sequel as opposed to a remake. And now, the saga continues, with a new director (Tim Story), a new writer (black-ish’s Kenya Barris), and a new John Shaft.
John Shaft III (Jesse Usher) is a cybersecurity expert with the FBI. When his best friend is killed under mysterious circumstances, it is up to Shaft to uncover the truth. However, at the root of it all is a crime so big, he’s going to need help from not only his father, John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson), but also the original himself, John Shaft (Richard Roundtree, aka the sexiest man who ever lived).
I will say, I’m kind of mixed on this one. Roundtree and Jackson are legends of the craft, and each put their own unique take on the iconic character. However, I’m not sure I fully like Usher’s character. He’s a bit too goofy to be the black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks. And the joke about hitting a woman in “this day and age” falls really flat. However, between the combination of that song, the iconic walk through the streets, the presence of Regina Hall, and the very funny callback to the famous window-smash, there’s enough promise here that I’ll tune in, whether I like the film or not. Shaft will be released on June 14th. You can watch the trailer below, and hell, I’ll throw in the original opening to Shaft, just in case you’re feeling amorous.