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Shaft (1971)

R   |    |  Action, Crime, Thriller


Shaft (1971) Poster

Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

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6.6/10
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  • Richard Roundtree in Shaft (1971)
  • Richard Roundtree in Shaft (1971)
  • Richard Roundtree in Shaft (1971)
  • Richard Roundtree in Shaft (1971)
  • Richard Roundtree in Shaft (1971)
  • Richard Roundtree in Shaft (1971)

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27 May 2002 | bob the moo
Classic bit of black-ploitation
John Shaft is a private detective in Harlem. He is hired by pimp and drug dealer Bumpy Jonas to find Bumpy's daughter who has been kidnapped by an unknown party. Shaft investigates the local Panther organisation but ultimately finds that an Italian mob is trying to move in on Bumpy's territory. With all parties at conflict Shaft must keep his cool to get the girl back.

Ay the start of a decade filled with cheap movies aimed at getting the black audience a product aimed at them in particular. Many of these were poor but Shaft stood out because it could have been a film in it's own right. The story is a normal detective movie with a black twist and that helps – because it's not forced at all. The story is gritty and tough as befits the setting and the hero.

Shaft is tough but hadn't yet turned into 007 (as he did in Shaft's Big Score), this makes him tough but also keeps him down to earth. Roundtree handles himself sexily and looks great – the film very much revolves around his performance and he holds the attention easily.

The film eventually gets into gun fights and an exciting conclusion but really this is all about mood and funk. And it delivers both.

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