03rd Jul2019

‘Shaft’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Jessie T. Usher, Samuel L. Jackson, Alexandra Shipp, Richard Roundtree, Regina Hall, Matt Lauria, Titus Welliver, Method Man | Written by Kenya Barris, Alex Barnow | Directed by Tim Story


Shaft, directed by Tim Story, is a sequel to the film of the same name directed by John Singleton in 2000, while also serving as an indirect sequel to the Gordon Parks film of the same name, released in 1971. Shaft (2019) follows J.J. Shaft played by Jessie T. Usher as he is pulled into the world of private investigation with the suspicious death of his best friend to a heroin overdose. Entangled with his estranged father John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) the father and son team-up travel on a bonding journey and dive deep into the investigation that hides a far greater consequence than they both realise.

It isn’t far-fetched to entertain the idea that anyone watching this isn’t here for the plot. If anything, you’ll presumably forget about said narrative momentarily after the ending credits has even begun. It isn’t a disaster per se. All in all, it’s quite frankly boring. A murder investigation that turns into a larger conspiracy is a generic convention that has been inundated within this specific type of film. Tim Story along with writers Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow fail to evolve or incite any level of intrigue into the plot. Aside from a constant push of overly misogynistic tones that slowly but surely engulf the feature into something just short of a disaster.

Jackson and Jessie T. Usher have an inkling of chemistry but the charisma they entail sadly just flounders into sexist overtones and venomous homophobia. A bloated cameo of Richard Roundtree adds a little nostalgic trip to proceedings but nothing much else in terms of entertainment or additional material to the events that unfold. The inclusion of Alexandra Shipp is the biggest disappointment. Not due to the actress’s talent, of which is largely impressive but it’s that of how poorly her character of Sasha Arias is crafted that falters. Pushed to the side and largely viewed as a sexual obsession more than a living breathing character.

Before long, the second act specifically, you’re left in a state of a floundering mess. Incited with overly convoluted plotting without any sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

Partnered with the running time of just under one hundred and twenty minutes, of which is ridiculous, Shaft descends into an overlong bore without an inch of entertainment. Even the imagery is largely flat with Story integrating highly stylised action sequences that are not only out of place but drastically over the top.

Shaft (2019) is available to watch on Netflix now.


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