'Shaft' [Blu-ray Combo Pack]
(Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree, Alexandra Shipp, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide.
Absent throughout JJ’s youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem’s heroin-infested underbelly.
Blu-ray Verdict: At the height of Blaxploitation in '70s cinema John Shaft was born and suddenly Richard Roundtree was a bad mother**ker!
When the new millennium came to be the torch was passed to Samuel L. Jackson, who truly actually is a bad mother**ker!
And thus here now in the age of iPhones, apps, and millennials, the torch is passed to Jesse T. Usher, who is ... well, let's say he needs some schooling from two generations of ass-kicking!
Let me just say I haven't had this much fun watching an action packed movie in a long while! 'Shaft' is truly a man's man movie and is a combination of '70s, '90s and 2019 guns and fighting overload era action!
Also chock full of sex, drugs and bullets it also has a healthy dose of dark humor directed toward the "snowflake generation" - which I personally loved!
The movie has solid performances, a lot of the aforementioned dark humor keeping it watchable throughout and together with some terrific pacing, to be quite honest, it was nostalgic and even a wee bit cathartic even to remember those great action movies that have been long since forgotten; or sacrificed to the God of Political Correctness! (but there is not an inch of political correctness in this movie, trust me!)
The plot is a mix-up of terrorist, drug addict mixed in with veterans suffering PTSD. This starts off a series of events connecting father and son to notorious drug pin Gordito.
OK, sure, there was an opportunity for some great storytelling toi be had here, however, it was never executed. JJ is everything Shaft Jr isn't. He grew up in the suburbs, attended college and is a data analyst for the FBI.
He solves crimes via intelligence, unlike his father who likes to knock heads. JJ was sheltered and protected by his mother. John Jr. wasn't coddled. So naturally, upon the first contact, it sets up for a humorous interaction.
Although, and telling it like it is, Regina Hall coming off a great year was misused here. She has great comedic timing, but was relegated to a "dumb chick" role.
In other words, she wasn't given much to do. Alexander Shipp is Sasha Aries JJ's childhood friend and crush and she too was relegated to playing "the pretty girl."
All that said, 'Shaft' (2019) is great action, great story and great laughs from start to finish. And, once again, I love how the film isn't completely politically correct, given that it's now 2019 and you seemingly can't get away with saying anything without offending someone!
As for the Special Features, which there are actually more of than I initially gave it credit for expecting it to have, the best is the triple feature of 'A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy – Part's One, Two and Three.'
A fun, albeit too short for my liking, trio of featurettes that examine the movie birth of the great legend throughout the stages of his evolution.
Another good one is 'Can Ya Dig It> The Making of Shaft' where we go behind the scenes with Director Tim Story and take a seat alongside him as street scenes, fight scenes and just closed set dialogue scenes are recorded.
This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Can Ya Dig It? The Making of Shaft
A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy – Part One: A Bad Mother Born
A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy – Part Two: No Questions Asked
A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy – Part Three: A Legend in His Time
The 'Shaft' Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD arrives September 24th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.
Official 'Shaft' Trailer