Shaft (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes


Shaft (2000)



Critic Consensus: With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons.

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Movie Info

This action drama puts a new spin on Shaft, one of the key "blaxploitation" films of the 1970s. John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson), the namesake nephew of the legendary private eye (Richard Roundtree), is a street-smart police detective who with his partner Carmen Velez (Vanessa L. Williams) has been assigned to a racially motivated murder case, in which a black college student was killed in front of a restaurant by Walter Williams Jr. (Christian Bale), the sociopathic son of a New York construction tycoon, who then fled the country rather than face prosecution. Diane Palmieri (Toni Collette), a waitress on a smoke break, saw the murder, but she doesn't want to talk to the police. Two years later, Walter is forced to return to New York, but without Diane's testimony, the city doesn't have much of a case. Soon, Shaft, Walter Junior, and Walter Senior's goons are all looking for Diane, with Junior enlisting the help of Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright), a small-time drug dealer who will do anything to move into the big leagues. Shaft and Carmen find Diane, but discover that she had a good reason for being on the lam for the past two years. Amidst all this activity, John gets frequent advice from his uncle, with whom he ponders the idea of quitting the force and opening a detective agency. Shaft was directed by John Singleton, from a screenplay by Singleton, Richard Price, and Shane Salerno. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Vanessa L. Williams
as Carmen Vasquez
Jeffrey Wright
as Peoples Hernandez
Christian Bale
as Walter Wade Jr.
Toni Collette
as Diane Palmieri
Dan Hedaya
as Det. Jack Roselli
Richard Roundtree
as Uncle John Shaft
Lynne Thigpen
as Carla Howard
Philip Bosco
as Walter Wade Sr.
Pat Hingle
as Judge Dennis Bradford
Josef Sommer
as Curt Fleming
Daniel von Bargen
as Lt. Kearney
Gordon Parks
as Lenox Lounge Patron
John Singleton
as Bored Cop with Coffee
Peter McRobbie
as Lt. Cromartie
Zach Grenier
as Harrison Loeb
Ron Castellano
as Mike Palmieri
Freddie Ricks
as Big Raymond
Sixto Ramos
as Bonehead
Andre Royo
as Tattoo
Richard Barboza
as Dominican
Mekhi Phifer
as Trey Howard
Gano Grills
as Cornbread
Philip Rudolph
as Uniform Sergeant
Angela Pietropinto
as Mrs. Ann Palmieri
Joe Quintero
as Assistant D.A. Hector Torres
Mark Zeisler
as D.A. Andrew Nicoli
Henry G. Thomas
as Member of Malik's Crew
Brian Oswald Talbot
as Member of Malik's Crew
Preston Thomas
as Member of Malik's Crew
Marshall T. Broughton
as Member of Malik's Crew
Ann Ducati
as Aunt Toni DeCarlo
Lisa Cooley
as News Anchor
Elizabeth Banks
as Trey's Friend
Scott Lucy
as Trey's Friend
Chris Orr
as Walter's Friend
Evan Farmer
as Walter's Friend
Will Chase
as Walter's Friend
Jeff Branson
as Walter's Friend
Jerome Preston Bates
as Desk Sergeant
John Elsen
as Uniform Cop In Metronome
Nadine Mozon
as Abused Woman
Louie Leonardo
as Pistolero
Tony Rhune
as Pistolero
Fidel Vicioso
as Pistolero
Myron Primes
as Young Blood
as Young Blood
Travis Brandon Rosa
as Fighting Boy
Luis Torres
as Fat Man
John Wojda
as Construction Worker
Ahmed Al-Khan
as Bystander at Metronome
Amer Al-Khan
as Bystander at Metronome
Rashid Feleyfel
as Bystander at Metronome
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Critic Reviews for Shaft

All Critics (117) | Top Critics (29)

A guilty pleasure for adults and older teens.

December 28, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

[Covers] too many bases.

January 1, 2000

Is this a good movie? Not exactly; too much of it is on automatic pilot, as it must be, to satisfy the fans of the original Shaft.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The current version tries awfully hard but with little success to create a Shaft for this day and age.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Whenever he [Jackson] isn't on the screen -- which isn't much -- the movie flags.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

John Singleton may have been the youngest director ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, but I wouldn't exactly call him a natural-born filmmaker.

January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Shaft

Still the man, any questions? Good Movie! This version is a lot more violent than the original, it didn't seem to be in Shaft's style. The pacing and editing in the first half of the movie were fast and smooth. John Singleton did a great job in establishing Shaft's character and the plot. During the second half of the movie, however, the movie starts to lose it's original slickness. Samuel L. Jackson is truly a great Shaft, he's probably the only actor out there who could pull this off, and he does an excellent job. Don't expect deathless art here but do expect to be entertained. It's one of those movies that is so politically incorrect it makes you gasp while you are laughing. There are lots of explosions, gore, and chases, both afoot and in cars, and it all happens in little more than 90 minutes. It's a lot of fun, highly recommended. Cool and deadly NYPD detective John Shaft arrests Walter Wade, Jr. in a racially-motivated slaying. The eye witness disappears, Wade jumps bail for Switzerland, and Shaft is livid. Two years later, Wade returns to face trial, confident his father's money and influence (and racial politics) guarantee an innocent verdict. Shaft looks hard for the witness, so Wade wants someone to kill her. He turns to a ghetto drug king, Peoples Hernandez, who's willing to kill for money, use Wade as a route to rich drug customers, and shaft Shaft. Can Shaft find the witness, convince her to testify, and shepherd her through the hail of bullets that Peoples is sure to let fly?

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


This spin off of the classic 70s blaxploitation series is an unfortunately maligned and under appreciated gem. Samuel L. Jackson is perfectly cast a John Shaft- a tough NYC homicide detective who is the nephew of the John Shaft from the original series. The plot (and there's a lot of it, surprisingly), follows Shaft as he investigates a racially motivated murder at the hands of Walter Wade, Jr.- a racist, sociopath son of a construction tycoon. Wade flees the country after making bail, but return two years later to find and kill the only witness to the crime. Shaft makes it his personal mission to bring Wade down, using whatever means necessary. It sounds simple, but I'm excluding some of the details which involve corruption, a Dominican drug lord, and that sort of thing. For what should be a relatively simple and straightforward exploitation film, this one has a lot, perhaps too much going on. I liked that they tried to be ambitious, but it wasn't really necessary. And counter to the films it is an homage to, there's little in the way of meaningful subtext and depth, though it does touch upon some stuff a bit. The film has some decent action, doesn't tarnish the legacy its tapping into, and has some solid performances as well. I don't really get the hate, but I guess it would have to do with being rather unoriginal and having some big shoes to fill. For what it is, the film is fine. Yeah, it's not perfect, but it's entertaining enough. Jackson is perfectly cast, even if he arguably gives a performance that isn't all that different from many of his other roles, Bale gives a passable, though shallow performance as Wade, Jr., and there's lots of notable people thrown in the mix as well, including cameos from Richard Roundtree and Gordon Parks, Sr. It is odd that Jeffrey Wright is cast as the Dominican, and his performance is odd, but that may be the only thing about this that really actually bothers me. Give this one a chance. It's really not a bad film at all. Plus, the music is just a nice little topping to this cinematic dessert.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Shaft is who SLJ plays in every movie. He is a constant badass in most of his films. I won't say it's a problem. I mean why fix what isn't broken right? He's good at playing these characters. They suit him well. I didn't love the movie. I thought it was kind of cheesy at times. But the action was OK and the acting wasn't too bad. It reminded me of a movie that would have went straight to DVD. I just wasn't impressed and it's not something I would see again.


Super Reviewer

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