HOLLYWOOD—Here is the problem with remaking a movie that was a remake of the original movie: you have to bring something fresh to the table. When I heard they were remaking “Shaft” the character made iconic by Richard Roundtree yet again, my eyes rolled in the back of my head. They did a double roll when I heard Samuel L. Jackson, who just played the character in the 2000 remake would be in this remake/sequel as well.
Like really, did people not realize that flick wasn’t that popular with audiences so why drum up similar content yet again? This new remake/sequel (to be honest I really don’t know what to call it, brings Roundtree, Jackson and Jessie T. Usher as a family unit as they track down the culprit(s) responsible for the death of John ‘JJ’ Shaft Jr. (Usher) friend from an apparent drug overdose.
Yes, we have three different shafts in this one: the old one, the middle aged one, and the young one. Are you still with me America? JJ is a bit too new school for his father, who did not play a big part in his growing up because his mother, Maya (Regina Hall) feared that John Shaft II (Jackson) career path was placing her son’s life in jeopardy.
The tension between Maya and John Shaft leads to plenty comic relief, but I can to see action, not a bunch of spars traded between two lovers who obviously still care about each other, but don’t fully know how to apologize and move on from the past. JJ is a bit new school for his dad, considering he works for the FBI and has expertise in cybersecurity. In essence this is a movie about book smarts vs. street smarts, which will be an ever-longing debate for most Americans. Both have their perks, some more than others, but it does depend on the situation that you are in.
Look I was not bored by this movie, but I also was not fully entertained in the way that I expected. I wanted a lot more action; it seemed this movie was more a reintroduction to Jackson’s character to the audience versus the original Shaft (Roundtree) and the newbie on the block JJ. If I wanted to see Jackson’s character, I would have simply watched the 2000 remake that also co-starred Vanessa Williams and Cristian Bale people.
The movie loses major points for a narrative that could have been a fun one, but became convoluted to a point that I just could not buy what was being sold about a grudge from nearly 30 years ago, just happening to tie all these characters together? It’s a stretch and the writers’ hope you buy into it. Some will, but a vast majority will not. Instead of focusing on the new, “Shaft” focuses on the original and because of that, it brings slight freshness to the table, but it’s too stale for my liking.