On June 3rd, 2019, I went to an advance screening of Shaft, directed by Tim Story and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree and Regina Hall.
I must admit, I’ve never seen any of the previous films, nor did I even know they existed until I told my parents I was going to see this one.
(It sucks being Gen Z. There’s so much we don’t know.)
So, as all millennials and post-millennials do, I went on my phone and did my research (AKA IMDb) and found out the following:
This film is a continuation of the Shaft series, which began in 1971, with Richard Roundtree as John Shaft. Two more films and 1 season on TV later, Samuel L. Jackson starred in the 2000 film Shaft, as John Shaft’s nephew. Now, the torch is passed onto Jessie T. Usher to take on the role as John “JJ” Shaft Jr. in the 2019 sequel.
Fun fact: This isn’t the first time Usher played the son of a legendary actor in a sequel. You may know him from Independence Day: Resurgence as Dylan Hiller, the son of Steven Hiller, who was played by Will Smith in Independence Day.
Anyways, in this 2019 sequel, John Shaft Jr. (Usher) is an FBI data analyst who seeks the help of his father, John Shaft (Jackson) to investigate the murder of his best friend, Karim (played by Victorious actor Avan Jogia).
Since I haven’t seen any of the previous films, I can’t tell you if it lives up to the expectations of its predecessors. What I can tell you is that if you’ve seen any foul-mouthed, action film where Samuel L. Jackson is a complete badass and does whatever the “F” he wants because he’s Samuel L. Jackson, then this film is no different.
I grew up watching action/adventure films with my dad. His favourite kind of films are the perfect blend of action and comedy, which ultimately I grew to love as well. We enjoyed films like Pulp Fiction (his all-time favourite), The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Shaft has everything these films have: action, comedy and pure entertainment. And of course, Samuel L. Jackson.
For someone who never heard of Roundtree or the previous Shaft films (again, the problems of being Gen Z), Samuel L. Jackson made this film memorable for me. I grew up watching his films, from Jurassic Park to Die Hard With A Vengeance to The Negotiator to the countless Marvel movies he was in. It was his acting, his humour and his suave badass persona that stood out and made this film entertaining for me.
However, I will also give credit to Roundtree and Usher for holding their own ground, especially Usher, now that he is the young and new fresh face of the series. This movie wasn’t just about how badass Samuel L. Jackson is onscreen. This movie gave Roundtree and Usher their own memorable (though sometimes brief) moments that made them stand out as a Shaft and an actor.
The most notable thing about this film was that it combined three generations of Shaft’s into one film, making it appealing to three generations of moviegoers. That way, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re a fan of the original movies, the 2001 sequel, Samuel L. Jackson or simply a good old classic action-comedy film.
The dynamic father-son interaction between Jackson and Usher was fun to watch, as their characters were good foils. They contrasted yet complimented each other, not just through their age difference but through their personality, old or modern views and their interaction (or lack-of) with modern-day technology. It certainly gave the writers more opportunity for humour.
I don’t know if this says anything about me, but I loved the sexual humour, especially when it came out of Samuel L. Jackson’s mouth. What can I say, he delivers the best one-liners in good old Samuel L. Jackson fashion.
My boyfriend enjoyed this movie a lot, which is good considering the last movie we went to see was a young adult romance film called The Sun is Also a Star (you can check out my review here). Some parts of this movie seemed predictable (probably because my boyfriend is really good at predicting things so he would whisper his predictions to me, and like dreams, they sometimes came true) but the film’s predictability didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of this film.
This screening was different from other ones that I went to because we had a few special guests before the movie began. When we got to the theater, DJ Cale Granton played funky music from the movie to pass the time. Then, before the movie, comedian Keith Pedro performed for a bit. I thought he was funny, even if my face didn’t show it (I know, I’m that person).
Last but not least, we had another guest before the film started: Jessie T. Usher. Here are the best (I say this very loosely) photos that my boyfriend and I took (also thank you to my boyfriend for helping me take pictures because my phone’s camera quality sucks).
You can also check out Warner Bros. Canada’s Instagram post on the screening below!
What are your thoughts on Shaft? Are you going to watch it? Have you watched the previous ones? What’s your favourite Samuel L. Jackson film? Let me know in the comments!
Shaft will be in theatres June 14, 2019.