“Shaft” is an absolutely hilarious action-comedy. The film is the fifth in the Shaft series, and it was directed by Tim Story. Kenya Barris is also the writer of “Black.ish” and “Girls Trip,” and Alex Barnow are behind the screenplay which takes a more comedic tone compared to the 2000 film with the same title. And it brings together a father, John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson) and his son John Shaft jnr aka JJ (Jessie Usher) after 25 years.
JJ is a data analyst. Prim and proper. He wears plaid shirts and ties. And looks like a model fresh out of GQ. His dad is the at the other extreme. Shaft is a street-smart private investigator who is not miserly of his use of the word ‘sh*t.’
In the beginning, after a shoot out, Maya Babanikos (Regina Hall) decided that she could not handle Shaft’s dangerous lifestyle. So she left with her son, JJ, who was a baby at the time.
John never missed a birthday though. Every year he sent a gift. But gifts could not replace the role of a father. As a child, JJ’s closest friend was Sasha until Karim rescued him from a bully. From then onward, the trio became best friends. Sasha Arias (Alexandra Shipp) grows up into a pretty and assertive doctor. Karim Hassan (Avan Jogia) joins the military while JJ (Jessie Usher) becomes a FBI agent.
Karim dies in a sad tun of events. The cause of death from a drug overdose. JJ and Sasha believe that he had been clean for a while. Even if Karim had a relapse, they did not believe he would ingest the amount of drugs found in his system. They are convinced that Karim was murdered. Consequently, JJ decides to investigate Karim’s death. He traces Karim’s drug dealers to Harlem, New York and pays him a visit. However, JJ realises that he is too lily-livered to confront the drug dealers. So, he goes to the one person he knows can help, his dad.
“Shaft” also includes an exciting plot twist which features Richard Roundtree. He is not the meek daddy you know him to be in “Being Mary Jane,” or “What Men Want.” Rather, Roundtree has an extensive gun collection which Shaft and JJ will find invaluable.
The cast of “Shaft” share good onscreen chemistry. As Shaft and JJ investigate Karim’s death, their approaches will make you laugh. JJ hates guns but surprises his dad with his Brazilian Capoeira fight moves. They also represent the old skool versus the modern. For instance, Shaft II has stacks upon stacks of files which he refers to for his investigations, while JJ is a computer whiz kid. JJ can get into just about any computer to get the information he requires.
Naturally, the father-son reunion presents the opportunity for the men to bond. And they do in the most hilarious yet heartwarming way. Shaft does not believe in apologising to women, but in the end, JJ gets him to see thing differently, while he helps JJ get his girl. What is most important though, is that at the end of the film, JJ has learnt to become more daring.
“Shaft” concludes my self-imposed “30 Days with Netflix,” challenge and it was well worth.