“This is Pitch Perfect Shaft!”
We need more heroes like Shaft. Even if he breaks a few of the rules run order to take out the bad guys, he gets the job done and makes the world a better place, all while having a smile on his face and consistently makes us laugh. Thank you Shaft or shall I thank Samuel L. Jackson who looks like he’s having the time of his life in this film. Either way, this sequel to the 2000 film along with the original Shaft movies from the 1970s is Pitch Perfect Shaft, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
The character Shaft is a lot like James Bond, but if Bond was funny, smoother with the ladies, and actually knew how to have fun with his work. As we all know, Samuel L. Jackson is synonymous with the word that iconic a delicious four letter word that starts with an “f”, where sometimes he adds a mother to the beginning of it, and those wonderful words are on big display throughout the film. It’s his poetic stamp on dialogue. He does speaks it so well and makes me laugh every single time.
Director Tim Story (Barbershop, Ride Along) sets the first scene in 1989 Harlem where Shaft (Jackson) and his wife Maya (Regina Hall) are in their car on a date, where they are attacked in a gun fight. Shaft saves the day, but his wife and their brand new baby were in harms way. Needless to say, their relationship ends and Shaft becomes the Shaft we know through the years until we get to present day. It’s here that we follow Shaft’s son John Shaft Jr. (Jessie Usher), who was raised by his mother, went to MIT and is now a top notch analysis for the FBI. The catch is that he is the polar opposite of his father. He wears skinny jeans, doesn’t like violence, never curses, and couldn’t be more awkward in front of the ladies. It will make for some excellent comedy later on.
The first 15 or 20 minutes of the film is all setup, which is a bland by-the-numbers story arc of Shaft Jr.’s friend being killed and trying to figure out who committed the crime, which he fails at detective work at every turn. His character and the others who he interacts with are just not entertaining on screen. I found myself fading away fast, however Samuel L. Jackson turns up for the rest of the film and saves the entire movie with his brash attitude and hilarious dialogue, where it seems like they just let him go crazy with improv. It’s everything we want in a Samuel L. Jackson role of this caliber, where he’s constantly making fun of his son, while at the same time looking out for him. When Shaft enters his son’s furnished apartment, he can’t help but make a series of funny-as-hell jokes about his taste. It plays out very well. It’s a more amusing version of The Odd Couple for a lot of the film, but set in a the violent drug world. Of course, the original Shaft (Richard Roundtree) shows up as well and handles the action and tone very well.
Shaft (2019) succeeds in its mix of comedy and action, while never getting side-tracked on silly tangents. It’s straight to the point enjoyment of the adult variety. Shaft talks the way we should start talking again, not afraid to be politically correct and be brutally honest. He doesn’t hide behind soft language and we need more of that. I really hope it doesn’t take another 20 years to make another sequel, because Shaft is the hero we need at this time. Loved the movie!