Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Matt Lauria, Titus Welliver, Method Man, Richard Roundtree
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Action crime sequel directed by Tim Story. Shaft (2019) follows JJ Shaft (Jessie Usher), who is a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT. After his best friend dies due to suspicious circumstances, he turns to his estranged father, the legendary John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson), to uncover the truth. Father and son navigate the Harlem underworld to solve the crime. Along the way they team up with the first generation John Shaft, Sr (Richard Roundtree).
Maya Babanikos: [1989 – Shaft and Maya are sat in a car in Harlem] What the f*** are you looking at? I’m right here! This is the f***ing problem. You don’t show me no f***ing respect, and you don’t listen. I say the same s**t to you over, and over, and over, and over again, like I’m a m**herfuking tape recorder! Not to mention the fact that my apartment smells like a f***ing cow barn, because of all your f***ing leather jackets.
Maya Babanikos: [taking out a wad of cash from a paper bag] And what is this, huh? You’re a grown a** man. Open a f***ing checking account. Your name is Shaft, not Chase. N*****, I’m not going to keep dealing with this s**t. Now, I done told you, I don’t know who the f*** or what the f*** you think this is.
Maya Babanikos: [Shaft notices a car parking behind them] You think this s**t is fun for me? You think I like hearing myself, repeat myself, repeat myself? Hello? Are you even listening to me?
John Shaft: Of course, I am, baby. Come here. Want to do me a favor?
Maya Babanikos: What? Oh, f***, no! F***, no! Who the f*** do you think I am? You think I’m going to put my sanctified lips on that tainted community d**k?
[suddenly they start getting shot at by the two men]
John Shaft: [after Shaft has dealt with the men that were shooting at them] Girl, what’s wrong with you? You were saying something about my bank account?
Maya Babanikos: What the f*** was that? What the f*** was that? You said no one would hurt us here, not in Harlem.
John Shaft: It’s not my fault, Maya.
Maya Babanikos: [they look at the backseat, where baby JJ is sat] No! John, this is different. I can’t. I can’t. I’m not, I got to get him away from all this.
John Shaft: No. Maya. Maya.
Maya Babanikos: I got to get him away from you!
John Shaft: Maya, don’t do this.
[we then see Maya leaving him to raise JJ on her own]
JJ Shaft: Oh. Hi. I’m just, I’m looking for…
JJ Shaft: Mm-hmm. Is he here?
John Shaft: [Shaft points a gun at the back of JJ’s head] Right here, m**herf***er. Who’s asking?
JJ Shaft: Oh, s**t! It’s me. It’s JJ.
John Shaft: JJ who?
JJ Shaft: JJ! John Shaft Junior! Your son!
John Shaft: My son?!
Woman: Son? I thought you pulled out on time, every time. S**t.
John Shaft: Junior?
JJ Shaft: Yeah.
John Shaft: F*** you doing here? Come on. What the f*** are you wearing?
John Shaft: So you’re in the city now? Oh, no, don’t tell me. Down in Soho, exposed brick loft, with a bi-curious roommate, with a little furry-a** dog. And, oh, a farmhouse sink.
JJ Shaft: Have you been stalking my Facebook?
John Shaft: I look like I’m on Facebook, m**herf***er? I mean, you come in here with your skinny-a** jeans, your button-down plaid Gap shirt, and what looks like some badminton f***ing Nikes. Any n***** with two eyes and a d**k could read you a mile away. Oh, your mom did one hell of a job turning you into a bona fide white boy.
JJ Shaft: Oh, what, because I shop at the Gap and I have a college degree and I know my FICO score, that means I’m not black?
John Shaft: Well, it kind of does.
JJ Shaft: You know what, I’m not doing this with you. I didn’t come here to argue about my clothes, or where I work, or any of the father-son stuff that you want to talk about. I’m here for business.
John Shaft: What kind of business could your Don Lemon a** have in my world?
JJ Shaft: I need your help.
John Shaft: [laughs] I knew it! I knew this day would come. No matter how hard your mom tried to kill that family s**t in you, those Shaft swimmers found their way all the way up in that pu**y, didn’t they? Come on. How far along is she? How much you need?
JJ Shaft: No, there’s no she. I need to hire you. I need your help for a case.
John Shaft: Oh. You can’t afford me.
JJ Shaft: You owe me. Just consider it payback for father figure deprivation.
John Shaft: N*****, what?
JJ Shaft: Please don’t use the N word.
John Shaft: Okay.
JJ Shaft: [as he break Orozco’s finger] Oh! Damn! Yoh, your pinkie just got f***ed up.
JJ Shaft: So my friend’s body was found outside your building last week. So was he buying drugs from you?
John Shaft: Can’t hear you!
Manuel Orozco: No, no, no. Look, look, look. I don’t know what he was doing there, alright? He used to cop for me, but I ain’t seen him in a while, ever since he was f***ing with that Brothers Watching Brothers bulls**t.
John Shaft: Brothers Watching Brothers? Damn, son. Sounds like your boy might’ve been on the down low. Anything you want to tell me?
JJ Shaft: What? No.
John Shaft: You sure? Because that damn sure would explain a whole lot of s**t.
JJ Shaft: Yes, I’m sure.
John Shaft: So you like pu**y?
JJ Shaft: Yes, I like pu**y. Yeah.
John Shaft: The way you say pu**y, it don’t sound like you like it. Describe what a pu**y look like.
JJ Shaft: It’s got… No! You know what, f***. Listen, man, Brothers Watching Brothers is a rehab center for Army vets.
John Shaft: For real?
JJ Shaft: Yes!
Orozco, Shaft: For real?
JJ Shaft: Yes!
JJ Shaft: I think coming to you was a mistake. I’ll take it from here.
John Shaft: Take what from here?
JJ Shaft: I’m going to Brothers Watching Brothers, see what I can find out.
John Shaft: F*** that! We are going to Brothers Watching Brothers.
JJ Shaft: We?
John Shaft: Yeah, we. If you’re going to pursue this investigation, I’m going to have to babysit your a**.
JJ Shaft: You’re the worst father ever.
John Shaft: No, that would be mine. But I can’t have your a** out here in these streets besmirching our family name.
JJ Shaft: I’m JJ. This is…
John Shaft: Shaft. John Shaft.
JJ Shaft: Ignore him. He thinks he’s the black James Bond.
John Shaft: If that m**herf***er was real, he’d think he was me.
JJ Shaft: What is wrong with you?
John Shaft: She picked up a bat.
JJ Shaft: Okay, so what are you going to do? You’re going to break her fingers too? You can’t beat up a woman.
John Shaft: Why not?
JJ Shaft: Because she’s a woman! That’s like misogynistic.
John Shaft: You’re the one being misogynistic. I ain’t mention no gender. You’re the one bringing up her being a woman and s**t. I don’t give a f*** about her gender.
JJ Shaft: Okay.
John Shaft: I’m an equal opportunity a**-whooper.
JJ Shaft: Okay, just, can I handle this?
JJ Shaft: Hi, Bennie. We don’t want any trouble. You know, we just came to ask you just a couple of questions.
JJ Shaft: [Bennie punches him in the face] Oh!
John Shaft: Damn!
JJ Shaft: I was just trying to talk. Ow!
John Shaft: Now, my son says I can’t put hands on you because you’re a woman. Now, since I can’t whoop your a**, I’m going to have to beat the s**t out of your s**t.
Bennie Rodriguez: [as Shaft shoots her phone] What the f***?
JJ Shaft: Oh, there’s no non-violent people in Harlem?
John Shaft: Junior.
JJ Shaft: Oh, damn, she’s strong.
John Shaft: I think she’s ready to talk.
JJ Shaft: [referring to his nose] Oh, it’s bleeding.
John Shaft: Bennie, have you and me ever done the horizontal boogie?
Bennie Rodriguez: No, papi. I’d remember f***ing a black guy dressed like Morpheus from Matrix.
Bennie Rodriguez: [Shaft shoots her handbag in anger] Coño! That s**t was ostrich!
John Shaft: I don’t give a f***.
JJ Shaft: What was that for?
John Shaft: I’m sick of these Laurence Fishburne comparisons. This s**t’s getting old.
John Shaft: You know what, we’re going to leave you alone.
Bennie Rodriguez: [sarcastically] Yippee.
John Shaft: Hasta la vista, Bennie. I meant to say that s**t like Schwarzenegger.
JJ Shaft: Oh, yeah. You got to be deeper.
John Shaft: [deeper voice] Hasta la vista.
Sasha Arias: This is crazy. You’re telling me that the cleric and this gang are working together?
JJ Shaft: Yeah, it was hard for me to believe that at first too.
Sasha Arias: Even if any of this is true, why would Karim have anything to do with it?
JJ Shaft: I don’t know, but I’m going to find out. And when I do, whoever killed him is going to be sorry.
Sasha Arias: Starting to sound a lot like your dad.
JJ Shaft: What? Are you serious?
Sasha Arias: Mm-hmm.
JJ Shaft: [imitating Shaft’s voice] You m**herf***ing think I sound like that goddamn m**herf***er?
JJ Shaft: [referring to Shaft] He’s actually really funny though. And you should see the way the people in Harlem react to him. He’s like a legend.
Sasha Arias: Well, I mean, I’m happy your dad’s funny, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that he abandoned you when you were a baby and wanted nothing to do with you.
JJ Shaft: Alright. Look, he’s obviously screwed up. Borderline insane. But, deep down, I feel like he’s actually an okay dude. Don’t get me wrong. There’s no way that I’m just going to forget that he abandoned me as a kid.
Sasha Arias: Okay.
John Shaft: Damn, girl. You’re looking good. How long has it been?
Maya Babanikos: Hm, never long enough. I can see you’re enjoying yourself as usual.
Maya Babanikos: [to the ladies standing on each side of Shaft] Lady Syphilis. Madam Chlamydia. It’s lovely to meet you both. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am actually on a date. That’s where the guy pays for your dinner before you have sex with him, and not all three. Try it.
John Shaft: Good seeing you.
Maya Babanikos: Bad seeing you.
John Shaft: That’s Junior’s mama. She’s a little bitter. Don’t worry about her though. Come on, now.
Maya Babanikos: [talking to herself in the bathroom; referring to Shaft] How did this m**herf***er know where I was? Is this m**herf***er following me? He’s trying to get me back. M**herf***er, I don’t want you back! And I’m happy. I’m so happy. I going to be the happiest b**ch. The girls weren’t even cute. Did they look sad to you? They looked sad to me. I like a n***** with no swag. I’m about the swagless m**herf***er with a check. You think just because you walking around here smelling good. I’m not even mad. And because you got a big f***ing… I mean, honestly. F***ing n******.
[as she walks off we see a lady standing next to her staring at her in shock]
Maya Babanikos: Why is it every time I’m around you it’s a f***ing gun fight?
John Shaft: Oh, so now you’re trying to act like a little gun fight don’t still turn you on?
Maya Babanikos: Why do you think that that s**t turns me on?
John Shaft: Them hard a** nipples.
Maya Babanikos: [covers her breasts with her hands] This is not a joke, John. This is why JJ and I had to leave your a** in the first place, remember?
John Shaft: Oh, s**t. Junior.
Maya Babanikos: Junior? What do you mean “Junior”? Please tell me that you did not get him involved in your bulls**t!
Ron: [to Maya] So Maya and John Shaft have a baby together. You know, they say that cat Shaft is a bad mother…
Maya Babanikos: Shut the f*** up.
JJ Shaft: Alright, I need to get closer. Just wait here.
Sasha Arias: What the hell? No.
JJ Shaft: No. Trust me. It’s not that I don’t think that you can do it. It’s just, I need you. Watch my back. Please? Just text me if Dominguez moves.
Sasha Arias: Okay. Go!
JJ Shaft: Oh, yeah.
Sasha Arias: Come on, let’s go.
Sasha Arias: [goes to follow JJ to help him out, but pulls herself back] No, no. That’s some simple b**ch s**t. Okay. We ain’t going to be her.
John Shaft, Sr: [points his guns at the back of Shaft and JJ’s head] That’s far enough, punks.
John Shaft: Pop.
JJ Shaft: Pop?
John Shaft: It’s me.
John Shaft, Sr: Son?
JJ Shaft: Wait. Grandad? No, it can’t be.
John Shaft, Sr: [to Shaft] Damn. You look like s**t. How could you look twenty years older than my gray a**?
John Shaft: Yeah, it’s good to see your a** too.
John Shaft, Sr: You’re my grandson? I haven’t been able to see you since your daddy drove your light-skinned a** way the hell upstate. Only you could be a worse father than I was.
John Shaft: You were a wonderful father. After you stopped pretending to be my uncle.
JJ Shaft: Wait, what?
John Shaft, Sr: Don’t pay attention to him. Come over here and give your granddaddy some love.
John Shaft: Look, I need to ask you a favor.
John Shaft, Sr: What you need?
John Shaft: You still packing?
John Shaft, Sr: Still packing. Boy, back in the day, we didn’t need guns. All we needed was our bare knuckles. Oof. Old school.
[Shaft opens up the closet door and to reveal a gallery firearms]
JJ Shaft: Okay.
John Shaft, Sr: But you can’t be too prepared.
John Shaft: Oh, yeah.
JJ Shaft: [as they all pull out their guns] What’s up?
John Shaft, Sr: [a thug pulls out his knife] Oh, so you want to go there. Let me get mine.
John Shaft, Sr: [referring to the knife that a thug pulled on him] Check this out.
John Shaft: Damn. You’re back to having a knife?
John Shaft, Sr: Oh, hell, no. I shot him.
John Shaft: [recovering in the hospital for his bullet wound, referring to Maya] You did bring me some pu**y.
JJ Shaft: Can you not refer to my mother as pu**y, please?
Maya Babanikos: Are you really going to ruin this moment?
John Shaft: Okay. This m**herf***er had Junior dead to rights. I promised you I was going to take care of him. So I…
Maya Babanikos: Yeah.
John Shaft: Now you going to break me off?
Maya Babanikos: Moment ruined.
Sasha Arias: How are we feeling, Mr. Shaft?
John Shaft, Sr: Groovy.
JJ Shaft: Great.
John Shaft: I’m good.
Maya Babanikos: Sasha, can you please prescribe this man something for his inflated ego?
Sasha Arias: You did good. I’m actually glad you were there. I’ll talk to you later.
JJ Shaft: Hey, Sash, hang on. I…
John Shaft, Sr: Kiss her!
Maya Babanikos: Go on then.
John Shaft: [as JJ and Sasha kiss] That’s my boy.
Maya Babanikos: Our boy. I pushed the little m**herf***er out.
John Shaft: After I shot him in.
Maya Babanikos: You’re always claiming s**t.
John Shaft: [as they continue to watch JJ and Sasha kiss] Can I get one of those?
Maya Babanikos: No, I don’t know where your lips been.
Special Agent Vietti: There he is. My favorite newly reinstated, newly-promoted field agent, slash, computer analyst. Welcome back, kid.
JJ Shaft: Yeah, I’m not coming back. I’m done working for the Man. And the name is Shaft. John Shaft.
John Shaft: [after JJ turns down the job offer from Vietti] So how did it go?
JJ Shaft: Just like you said it would.
John Shaft: Told you.
JJ Shaft: So what’s next?
John Shaft, Sr: Got a call from a couple upstate. Possible kidnapping, embezzlement. Can’t call the cops. The usual.
John Shaft: [chuckles] Let’s do our thing.
[they all put on their sun glasses before walking off]