RICHARD ROUNDTREE SCORES AS THE TOUGH PRIVATE EYE WHOSE HUNT FOR A MISSING WOMAN PUTS HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF A SYNDICATE FEUD. SPECIAL FEATURES: BEHIND-THE-SCENES DOCUMENTARY SOUL IN CINEMA: FILMING SHAFT ON LOCATION, FEATUR... more »E-LENGTH AUDIO COMMENTARY BY DIRECTOR GORDON PARKS, AND MUCH MORE.« less
As far as I know Shaft broke new ground as a movie starring a black man in 1971. Shaft was the perfect example of a rogue cop, taking orders from no one and tracking down the crooks no matter where they hid in the city.
Recommended for fans of Richard Roundtree and quality jazz.
Gunner February, 2008 "
Decent (not great) presentation of drive-in classic
dekko | 06/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Of course, if you're reading this, you probably already know that "Shaft" is an above-average blaxploitation flick with Richard Roundree as a private detective hired to track down a Harlem gang boss' missing daughter. With dialogue like "You got problems, Shaft?" "Yeah, two of 'em. I was born black and I was born poor." you really can't lose.So on with the DVD. The film itself is nicely letterboxed (I think for the first time), and while it's not made from the greatest print (there are a couple scratches), it's a perfectly acceptable presentation.Extras include trailers for all three Shaft flicks . This is great--I wish Warner had done the same with their "Dirty Harry" DVD. (They did with the VHS version.) There's also a 1971-produced short "Making of" film and the option to view the movie in French (a surreal experience, to be sure.) The cast and crew bios, however, are pretty meager, offering only a relatively complete portrait of Richard Roundtree. Where's Moses Gunn? Or Gordon Parks? The "Awards" option is pretty worthless as well, showing that the movie won the Oscar for "Best Original Song."Oh, yes, and there's no commentary track with Director Parks as is described on the Amazon site. Forgivably, it's not mentioned on the DVD box, so this is probably just something that didn't pan out at the last minute.It's still lots of fun, but not what it could have been."
5 stars is not enough!!
G. C Moyers | ky usa | 08/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Who is the man who would risk his neck for his brotha' man? SHAFT!!" Blaxploitation? That's like calling "Bullit" 'Cracker-jacking' [I rate Bullit a 2/5 stars] or 'The Godfather' "Wopploitation' [am Italian myself-so clearly my criticism is the asinine labeling of SHAFT as an "exploitation film" simply because a strong lead character is a black man-but he is FIRST a strong MAN] I LOVE this film; saw it prior to teen years and was a wonderful "adrenaline pump" WITH A STORY. Violence? sure; gratuitous? no; the mean streets of Harlem are a turf war NOT driven by racial hatred but by MONEY [via heroin trade]. A unique [and I have never read it mentioned] is that this film is an "equal opportunity offender"; the mob-white crooks, want to sell heroin in New York turf and have to overpower the long-time "crime boss" of the area- "Bumpy", a black career criminal whose CV reads from the petty[numbers] to the Class A felony[murder], who besides being a "crook" has a downright nasty disposition-betraying local black activists [civil rights ala Malcom X "any means necessary youths] into fighting his "drug war" for him!! Caught in the "middle", Shaft negotiates a deal for all parties involved-"Bumpy" will pay $10,000 a man [a very 'on target' critique of the indemnity policy paid in Vietnam to American soldiers killed, 80% of whom were black] for "Ben's" activist "soldiers" to battle the mob. The "lie" revolved around Bumpy's daughter [Marcy] being nabbed by the mob-this was how Shaft [the black private (...)who is sex machine to all the chicks] was brought into the imbroglia in first place. This film won the Oscar for its pounding, fantastic soundtrack, but I think deserved several; the screenplay was great- besides the handful of "well-known" quotes, there are TONS of other memorable lines [the confrontation between Bumpy and Ben about the respective merits of civil rights and 'numbers, drugs and [prostituses] is very profound even in brevity], the demographic of "strong black women" in an elderly black woman intervening between Shaft and Ben and preventing a fight; and many others. The only "weaknesses" [and obviously, I LOVE this movie!!] are Shaft's relationship with the cops; what the hell forged their bond, and the actor who played the cop Shaft interacted with sucked; there was NO character development of the mobsters "moving in"; and the women in the film were given a very demeaning role-"No one understands him but his woman"? Shaft gets it on with a white 'one-night stand' gal, implicitly a frequent activity of his; does his "woman", totally under-developed character played by a capable actress, accept this infidelity or is she "clueless"? The ending does not really cast Shaft in a "heroic" light; his courage is 100%, but he basically "takes the money and runs", making fun of his "cop pal" as Marcy is returned to the horrid Bumpy, several of Ben's men are killed, and war has broken out in earnest between Bumpy and the mob which Shaft tells the cop pal "it's your problem" and exits via the downbeat of the guitar chords and percussion breaking out to end the film. In all, a favorite of mine, great, great action, many "undertones" in the messages incidental in the film, and Shaft IS one BAD Mutha' .....!!!!"
But,I'm talking about Shaft-Again
S. Howard | Orange,N.J | 11/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here I am talking about Shaft again.I just did the music review a few days ago.So I said to myself I might as well do the film to.Back in the day when James Bond was kicking butt in movies like Goldfinger and Thunderball he was the main man.But he was also a white man.Now there's NOTHING wrong with that.But the time was due for us black folks to get some representation.And that's when private detective John Shaft hit the streets of Harlem.With his leather coat and the music of Isaac Hayes playing in the background.Another main man was on the scene.Shaft was just as handsome as Bond,just as smart as Bond and just as cool as Bond.And he didn't take s#!t from anyone.And that made Shaft one bad motherf-SHUT YOUR MOUTH-.The film Shaft was directed by muti-talented Gordon Parks.And it's star was a good-looking new comer by the name of Richard Roundtree.I read somewhere that Isaac Hayes wanted the starting role of Shaft but he didn't get it.But Mr.Hayes went on to win a academy award for the soundtrack.And Mr. Roundtree went on to have a successful movie career."All well that ends well" as they say.Now Shaft was about a Harlem mob boss by the name of Bumpy (played by Moses Gunn) daughter being kidnapped and Shaft is hire to rescue her.Along the way we become acqainted with some good guys,some bad guys and there's also a little romance (Shaft's girlfriend Ellie was played by Gwenn Mitchell,and she was one fine babe and my favorite Shaft girl).And if you're a action fan there's plenty of it throughout this film.Shaft begins with a man flying out of a window.And ends with Shaft flying into one.So all you lovers of black cinema of the 70s please check out Shaft you will not be disappointed.Shaft over the years as become a true icon."
C. Troxler | New Haven, CT | 11/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film was just before my time, but when I first saw it in the late 80's or ealry 90's, I wanted more and could not get enough! I could not believe that such ill (hot, cool) films like this were being made in the ealry 70's.
I don't want to get into the story, but this is a must have film in any collection if you like action films. The Sam Jackson Shaft was better than I thought, but it CANNOT stand up to the origianl or it's sequel(notice how sequel is singular...). They should never try to remake a classic film. I hear that they want to remake "Uptown Saturday Night" and "The Warriors!" I hope someone stops them before they get started! Come up with your OWN ideas for your time, don't bite.
This film is classic, but the only problem I have is that it was not as remastered as it could have been. No royal treatment. It does have a featurette though, somthing I had never seen before. The other problem wit this film like "Superfly," is that both films have legendary soundtracks/scores that did corssover with white audiences - so why no surround sound or at least stereo remaster? That is the least they should do. I want "Shaft" and "Superfly" special editions with at least stereo! Classic soundtracks should get the royal treatment."