The original John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) and his nephew John (Samuel L Jackson), might be bad mothers, but it seems as if the new generation in the Shaft family might need some work to get to that status.
That’s the impression one gets from the first trailer for Shaft, the fifth installment of the Blaxploitation action franchise. (And also the third installment of the franchise to have the exact same name.) Usher stars as JJ Shaft, the son of Jackson’s John Shaft from the 2000 reboot and grandson to Roundtree’s original black private dick of the classic 1970s trilogy of films.
But thing is, the trailer gives the impression that director Tim Story has lightened up the tone for this film. And while JJ making the transition from his by-the-book FBI training to being as street-smart as his father and grandfather does suggest some humorous moments, the trailer leans into them so heavily that it is hard not to shake the feeling that we might be getting a film that is somewhat removed from the grittiness and noir feel of the previous films.
“Shaft” is the next chapter in the film franchise featuring the coolest private eye on any New York City block. JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide. Absent throughout JJ’s youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem’s heroin-infested underbelly. And while JJ’s own FBI analyst’s badge may clash with his dad’s trademark leather coat, there’s no denying family. Besides, Shaft’s got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that’s professional and personal.
Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse), Regina Hall (The Hate U Give), and Cliff “Method Man” Smith also star.
Shaft opens in theaters on June 14, 2019.