That Cat Shaft Is Back On The Big Screen

This latest version puts a hilarious new spin on the original

Terri Lee-Sylvester
June 14, 2019 - 8:09 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - The baddest private detective to ever walk the streets is back on the big screen.  He's John Shaft, known the world over as Shaft.

But, how do you improve on the original movie, which was released in 1971, that everybody loves?  Well, if you're part of the team that produced the 2019 version of Shaft, you don't just remake the original, you put a new spin on it and you cast Samuel L. Jackson in the lead role.  You bring back Richard Roundtree, the original Shaft, to play his dad. And, you bring in a millennial to play John Shaft Junior, also known as JJ.  Cast in that role is rising star Jessie T. Usher.

In this latest version, JJ has been raised by his single-parent mother Maya, played by Regina Hall, who leaves Shaft after getting fed up with his dangerous lifestyle and nearly getting killed.  

(L-R) REGINA HALL as Maya, JESSIE T. USHER as John "JJ" Shaft and SAMUEL L. JACKSON as John Shaft in New Line Cinema's action comedy "SHAFT," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

JJ gets plenty of birthday and Christmas presents (inappropriate though they may be) from his dad, but the two don't see one another for years.  After graduating from college and getting a job in law enforcement, JJ goes looking for his dad when he needs help solving his best friend's murder.  

This movie strikes a perfect balance between comedy and drama.  While Jackson has plenty of opportunities to utilize his dramatic acting abilities, he also keeps the audience laughing throughout the entire film. 

For those of us who loved the original Shaft, this one takes us down memory lane without copying the original.  

But for anyone who didn't see the original, don't worry.  It also works as a stand-alone.  Very.  Well.  Done. 

See you at the movies!

Be sure to tune in to WWJ Newsradio 950 every Friday for my weekly look at the movies with Midday Anchor Jackie Paige.

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee

Member:
Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA)
Detroit Film Critics Society (DFCS)
African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)
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