Singleton's updated the 1971 blaxploitation flick with Jackson starring as the nephew of the coolest private dick ever (Roundtree has a cameo in his original role). But Jackson can more than hold his own in the cool department as he tracks down rich-kid murderer Walter Wade Jr. (Bale), who's after the only witness to his crime, a scared waitress (Collette). Wade hires a Latino drug dealer (Wright, in a standout performance almost equal to Jackson's) and a couple of bad cops to find the girl and kill Shaft, setting off much gunfire and snappy dialoque. Jackson has charisma to burn, but other characters, as well as potentially interesting plot points, get short shrift. This is most likely a result of Wright's part being (deservedly) beefed up from the original screenplay (about which Singleton and Jackson were said to be not entirely happy).
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Available on VHS, DVD
Running time 98 minutes.
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