How do you update Shaft for the modern era? John Singleton tried in 2000 with a serviceable if unspectacular sequel, a rather asexual and anonymous follow-up to the far more stylish and distinctive original. Almost two decades later and somehow we’re even further from the right answer. Because it turns out that a 2019 version of Shaft probably shouldn’t turn into an unabashed celebration of regressively misogynistic and homophobic masculinity. In Ride Along director Tim Story’s wildly misjudged follow-up, we’re given a Jordan Petersen-level assault on so-called beta millennial males, a strange, angry attack on modernity that feels like the result of a group of bitter men griping about the metrosexualisation of a younger generation.
1 out of 5 stars.
Incarnation - Shaft - Jessie - T - Usher
In the latest incarnation, the youngest Shaft, played by the undeniably charming Jessie T Usher, is a decaf coffee-drinking, gun-hating, women-respecting data analyst for the FBI, which turns him into a joke and a punchline for both the film and his absentee father. Played by a returning Samuel L Jackson, he’s disgusted to see what his son has turned into at the hands of his mother (a wasted Regina Hall), who raised him in his absence. Convinced he must be gay, he’s determined to turn him into his idea of a real man as the pair investigate the death of younger Shaft’s ex-junkie friend. There’s an inevitable culture clash between the two but elder Shaft is focused on showing his son that listening less to women and shooting more guns will help to show him the way.
There’s a smart, self-aware film to be made from a rough kernel of this setup. Focusing on the different definitions of masculinity shared by two generations of men is undeniably intriguing, especially given that one is a father who hasn’t been present for his son’s...
Wake Up To Breaking News!