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Shaft (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000017114
Added by: Chris Cox
Added on: 10/5/2001 18:19
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    Review of Shaft

    7 / 10


    Back in 1971 Richard Roundtree starred as John Shaft in the movie “Shaft”, a cult “blaxploitation” classic with a memorable theme tune by Issac Hayes. In 2000, “Shaft” returns, this time played by Samuel L Jackson, with Roundtree as his uncle and Hayes still providing the theme tune.

    After a rich racist murders a black youth outside a bar, Shaft arrests him but he jumps bail and flees the country. The only witness to the crime has been scared into hiding and Shaft sets out to find her to bring the killer to justice, meeting drug lords and bent cops on the way.


    Video is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and is of high quality throughout the film, with a great deal of detail, and no dirt or grain. A lot of the movie is set at night, which can be problematic but is displayed without fault.

    Visually the film is very stylish, with plenty of action including car chases and gunfights, all of which are well presented on screen. The special effects are also good and give the movie a quality feel.


    The soundtrack comes in Dolby Digital 5.1 and, like the video, is of a high standard.

    The main reason for the success of the soundtrack is David Arnold’s fantastic use of Issac Hayes’ famous theme throughout the film – it sounds absolutely great from start to finish.

    The soundtrack makes very good use of all channels, with the music blasting out throughout the movie. The soundstage is filled with gunfire during the numerous shootouts and there is also plenty of atmospheric sound - music in adjoining flats when Shaft is in an apartment block, stereos in cars driving past etc.

    The dialogue is always clear and understandable during the film.


    The extras aren’t especially exciting unfortunately.

    There are two music videos – Issac Hayes’ “Shaft” and R Kellys “Bad Man”.

    The “Shaft: Still The Man” making-of featurette runs for 16 minutes and is pretty tedious – a major exercise in backslapping which offers little information on the technical aspects of the film, and is very much a trumpet-blowing exercise for all involved. The interviews are not much better and contain pretty much the same material.

    A trailer rounds up the extras.

    The disc is packaged in a black Amaray case with a single sheet insert detailing the miserly 12 chapter breaks in the movie.


    Overall, Shaft is quite enjoyable with some good humourous dialogue, but ultimately doesn’t deliver enough to stand out from the crowd. I saw this film at the cinema last year and my initial reaction at the end of the film was that it was like a glossy extended episode from an American TV cop show. After watching this DVD, I’ll stand by that summary, but I did enjoy it more at home that I did at the cinema.

    The plot is nonsense from start to finish, and many of the characters just too ridiculous for words, but the cast all play their parts well. There is plenty of action but the film is quite brutal in places, which may not be to everyone’s taste.

    Video and sound are both good, but the extras are disappointing, so it’s perhaps one to rent before buying if you haven’t seen the film.

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