Shaft (2000) brought Blaxploitation into the modern age. With Samuel L. Jackson in the role, there’s no doubt that this John Shaft is a bad mother (shut your mouth). I always knew there was another Shaft movie made in the 2000’s, but I always assumed it was some kind of remake. Shaft (2000) is actually a continuation with Richard Roundtree playing Uncle John Shaft to his nephew John Shaft II. Although Roundtree’s only contribution is occasional advice to his much more violent namesake.
Jackson is essentially playing himself playing Shaft in his usual charismatically profane way. Shaft’s tendency to shoot first turns him into a black private dick, but he’s rarely seen as a sex machine to all the chicks. Apart from a sex scene in the opening credits that plays Isaac Hayes’ theme song one of several times. Shaft (2000) was director John Singleton’s first commercial film. Its style is distinctly 2000’s with a whole celebrity cast.
There’s Vanessa Williams as his police partner, Jeffery Wright as a deadly Dominican drug lord, Christian Bale as an American Psycho rich kid involved in a heated race case, and Toni Collette as Shaft’s elusive witness. It’s a Singleton movie, so expect a rapper like Busta Rhymes as well. Shaft has a lot to deal with, but his primary concern is bringing Bale’s character to justice. Although the ending does feel a bit anticlimactic considering how important the case was. John Shaft II lives up to his name and makes the criminals of New York remember it. Shaft (2000) isn’t a game changer, but it is a badass reintroduction to a black icon.