The Netflix sequel is not the Shaft we wanted

2019-07-04 12:58

Netflix has produced a sequel for Shaft and given it a romantic comedy feel which Phumlani S Langa could have done without. 

Available on Netflix SA
2 out of 5 stars

The first Shaft film in 1971 starred Richard Roundtree as a fly-mouthed, smooth black brother who kicked ass on the block and took names for the next day.

This blaxploitation film was a landmark piece of work that included a timeless soundtrack by one of the grooviest cats ever, Isaac Hayes. In 2000 this film was remade with Samuel L Jackson taking on Roundtree’s role.

Now, Netflix is streaming the sequel on its platform and given it an injection of humour and an odd romantic comedy feel.

This makes sense given that director Tim Story is the brains behind such soppy titles as Think Like A Man.

Being the third coming of Shaft, they cleverly included a generational element in which Richard Roundtree (John Shaft Sr) is Samuel L Jackson’s father (John Shaft) and he has a young millennial son who is very different from the other Shafts.

He’s the quintessential youngster, politically correct to the death and instead of opening a can of whoop ass in the way his father and grandad would, he uses his Capoeira lessons as his form of defence, and he has an intense disdain for guns.

I thought the differences between the three were entertaining and of course I loved seeing Regina Hall as Maya Babanikos, even though I felt like her screen time was limited.

The soundtrack for this film was enjoyable as the songs selected were paired with the particular Shaft on screen. Disco-sounding records for Roundtree, 90s golden era rap for Jackson and of course wavy trap stuff for the young blood, Jessie T Usher (JJ Shaft).

Doing away with the blaxploitation format in favour of an action romcom had me feeling a little let down, but this is a light and undemanding watch you might enjoy.

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April 5 2020