Originally this was going to be titled “3 reasons why Shaft (2019) Sucks” like I did for a previous Samuel L. Jackson movie “The Hitman’s bodyguard” (and other films like “All Eyez on me") but the problem is, the new shaft film doesn’t suck. It’s just not “Shaft”. So instead of saying the film sucks, let’s point out why this film isn’t considered a Shaft film (to me at least). This film is the fifth film in the Shaft film series and a sequel to the 2000 film with the same title, although way more comedic in tone. Unlike its previous film, which was distributed by Paramount Pictures, this film is produced by New Line Cinema & Netflix (who already have it streaming overseas) and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, who own the first three features and the TV series due to its acquisition of the pre-1986 MGM library when it absorbed Turner Entertainment through the Time Warner formation in 1996.
On February 18, 2015, it was announced that New Line Cinema had acquired the rights to Shaft, based on the famous detective character, John Shaft, and would develop a new film within the series along with producer John Davis of Davis Entertainment. On July 28, 2015, it was reported that Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow would be writing the script for the new film, which would also be produced by Ira Napoliello. On January 20, 2017, the studio hired Tim Story to direct the film. On August 18, 2017, Jessie Usher was cast to play the lead role as the son of Samuel L. Jackson's John Shaft II from the 2000 film, while Richard Roundtree and Jackson would reprise their roles from the previous films and in October 2017, Netflix signed a deal with New Line Cinema to cover more than half of the film's $30 million budget in exchange for the rights, which allowed Netflix to release the film on its platform outside of the United States two weeks after the theatrical release in the U.S. Filming began in February 2018. It was reported that the film already wrapped up production in the early part of the year but the cast went back to re-shoot some scenes in Atlanta (which is why Harlem doesn’t look like Harlem in this film) in August 2018. They should of reshot this whole movie because it’s soo inconsistent with the rest of the franchise (films, tv show, comics, the shaft theme song), that this film feels more like a reboot than a sequel to the classic film and it’s modern sequel in 2001. Here are a few reasons why I feel like that.
1)Shaft was not a fuck fest!
Rewatch 2001’s Shaft. How many times did Samuel L. Jackson said the word “motherfucker”? 13 times. In total. In the new film, within the first 5 minutes, not only did they surpass the number.. everyone is screaming “fuck”, “motherfucker”, etc. The franchise always been rated R and it’s basically have become Samuel’s thing to say fuck a lot in his films but I feel like this film took it a bit too far! When Samuel used to say motherfucker in his films, it was like poetry. This film on the other hand is mumble rap. I don’t mind cursing in film but shaft isn’t Samuel L Jackson. Samuel may play Shaft but shaft isn’t Samuel. I felt like I was watching a Wayan’s brother parody of Shaft. Like a “low down dirty shame part 2”. Speaking of comedy, that brings me to my next point.
2)Shaft ISN'T a comedy!
The original films are neo-noir action crime movies with the 2001 version kinda going the thriller route. This new film however is a generic action comedy (think of films like “Ride along”). Shaft and the rest of the cast are cracking jokes every 5 minutes. Everyone is a comedian! You can have funny moments without making the whole film a comedy. Look back at the last shaft. Scenes like Busta Rhymes talking to the press when he’s supposed to be driving off in the limo or the fat guy eating donuts who’s wants to become a cop, the last film had a perfect balance of drama, suspense and comedy. This new film only kept the comedy.