Movie Review: Shaft (2019)

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Summary: JJ Shaft, a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, enlists his family’s help to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death.
Pros:
Samuel L. Jackson. He’s always good. I don’t know if I’ve seen his Shaft movie, I feel like I have, a long time ago, not sure but his character is cool. He’s a badass, as always, he’s flirty, especially whenever he’s interacting with Regina Hall’s Maya and I liked his rapport with Jessie T. Usher because he clearly knows who his character is and how he would react to his son being “raised by his momma” but then turning around and being proud of him when he shows “Shaft tendencies”. He’s a cool dude and boy that red jacket they all wear at the end, dope.
Chemistry between Shaft and JJ. The biggest thing for me in this movie is how these two worked together. When they first meet, it’s a little awkward because Shaft left when JJ was a baby and he doesn’t have a great ideal of the man. We see this for a while but as the movie goes, we begin to see them trust each other and really care about each other. Sure, there are some cliched moments of betrayal that happens but they worked so well together. The seasoned badass with the dorky rookie who needs to learn he too is a badass. Lol it was fun to watch, especially when JJ got to be a badass. That scene in the club was cool and the one in the restaurant for both of them was really good.
It’s pretty funny/A Good Time. I think it’s funny overall. There are problematic jokes and I can imagine people being upset/offended by it but there are some that sneak up on you and I laughed. I didn’t full out laugh but I chuckled in a lot of places. Most of the time, it’s the chemistry between Jackson and Usher and their interactions and then JJ’s reactions to situations being so different from his dad. When Roundtree joins in, there are some good humorous moments. I also think this movie is a good time. If you’re looking for a film where you can see black actors have fun, eff some stuff up and you liked the previous Shaft movies, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one.
Cons:
Acting sometimes. We see a lot of Jessie T. Usher and there are times where he’s good but there are other times, other times where I was like oooo boy, you clearly aren’t as good when he’s on screen with Jackson. I think particularly in the beginning. I think he’s very funny but some of his line delivery was too “try hard”. I have a love/hate relationship with Alexandria Shipp, I want to like her because there are times I do (Love, Simon) but she also comes off “try hard” and I can’t quite put my finger on her just yet. Also, minor issue, but why do they keep casting these darker skinned actresses to play the younger version of a much lighter skinned actress? It just made me pause in the beginning. ANYWAY, I just found some of our leads aren’t that strong and it’s noticeable. Oh also, those army dudes lol, man sit down. Also, I love Regina Hall and while I don’t think she was bad, her character was annoying. She was nagging way too much. I get it but sit-down ma’am.
Predictable. Predictable. Predictable and cliché/Meh Story. This can go along with the above it, but I don’t care about this story lol. I guess they needed some reason for JJ to seek out his dad and then for Shaft to seek out Shaft Sr. but I don’t think the story itself was that interesting to make a movie off of it. I wasn’t that invested in it; I was just invested in the relationship between Jackson and Usher. I mean, it’s a kid who’s estranged from his parent, in order to get them back together, the kid needs the parent for something that’s in their expertise and they end up having to figure out the mystery together. We’ve seen it and they didn’t add anything new, not to mention, it hits a lot of the same beats we’ve seen in movies like that. So, I was able to call almost everything that happened.
Dated? I wasn’t sure how to label this but there are times when the jokes, the references just don’t fit. I think when you have a character like Shaft who was big a while ago, with two different actors playing him, putting him into 2019 is a little jarring. He drives this old car, and his ideals on things are clearly out of place and the humor that comes along with it might be a little problematic. I mean, I laughed at some of it but other times, I was like “alright, move on, y’all not that clever” and I feel like if you watch this movie in 5 years, it’ll be like “dang this movie is dated” because it felt that way watching it now.
Overall, I think Shaft is a fun movie with some positives, mostly being in Jackson leading the charge and his interactions with Jessie T. Usher as his son. They worked well together and when Richard Roundtree joined in, all of them looked and worked really well together. They had great chemistry and a great rapport. It felt like they were a family. Oh! I also liked that as JJ became more “Shaft” he started to wear more turtleneck shirts or he would relax in his posture a little. I’m not sure if that was Jessie’s choice or the director but that was a nice little nod I thought. I also think it’s pretty funny and it’ll get some chuckles or even some laughs from you. While some of the humor is good, I think people will be find it problematic and I can imagine they would complain, I don’t think it’s meant in bad taste but who’s to say. The story is mediocre and very cliché and PREDICTABLE. It’s not hard to figure it out pretty early. It also might come off dated, even now when it’s set in this time. But that may be just me. Otherwise, it’s a fun movie and I’d probably watch it again.
Rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Shaft? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
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