When you have to make a movie that is sure to rock
every ass in the house accept no substitute. Hehehehe
That should’ve been the tagline on this badass friggin
movie. HOLY CHRIST this film rocked from start to
finish for me tonight.
Alright, here we go....
As a reward for 4 damn fine reports filed, I decided to
swing by Sister Satan’s house to take her out to see
I had very reserved expectations walking into the
theater. I had heard fairly mixed reactions to the film
thus far... however, the closer the film got... the better
the word. Singleton was rumored to be doing
reshoots. And with each test the film was scoring
Then earlier this week Darth Siskel wrote an absolute
flying RAVE of the film. Now... I’ve disagreed in the
past with a couple of his reviews (though mostly I
agree), so I wasn’t quite sure what I would think
I was telling my sister and Father Geek that I felt that
Sam would carry the film for me and that the rest of
the film is probably pretty weak. And I did a lot of
shit and pissing about what a shitty summer lot of
films we have thus far... and how the hell anyone
could make a crappy SHAFT movie with Sam
Jackson would be beyond me.
THEN I WATCHED THE FILM....
This is the type of film that when you walk out of the
theater after the film, you feel that you are actually
moving cooler than you were when you walked in.
John Singleton has made a completely different
feeling hardcore action film that feels like some sort
of American Urban Black John Woo Hong Kong
Bullet Ballet that just starts kicking your ass and just
does not stop.
I absolutely unreservedly love, with every fiber of my
being, this movie. This is that type of bullet in the
head, badass violent as hell, cool as all getup
character film that made Woo famous.
First off... the number one reason this movie
completely busted the shit out of my face and left me
stunned.... JEFFREY WRIGHT! Bet you expected
me to say Sam Jackson didn’t you?
Don’t get me wrong... Sam is the fucking man in this
movie... But we all knew that walking into this deal.
What 99% of everyone is not even expecting is that
they will see an absolutely unforgettable performance
out of Jeffrey Wright as Peoples Hernandez. He is
frigging INVISIBLE in the film. Not for ONE
SINGLE SECOND did I realize that Peoples was
actually one of my favorite unheralded black actors.
Back about 4 or 5 years, I became a big fan of Jeffrey
Wright after his fantastic performance as Basquiat.
Then in last year’s turd of a western, Jeffrey played a
slave fighting on the side of the South. He was the
single greatest thing about RIDE WITH THE
DEVIL, and if you go back and check my review,
you’d see that I was raving about the guy.
HOWEVER, nothing prepared me for his AMAZING
performance as Peoples Hernandez. One... his
make-up was amazing. I mean... Dear God... I never
thought for a second that Peoples was played by
anyone other than a full blood Puerto Rican or some
great unknown Latino. The vocal patterns, the body
language, the under the breath Spanish phrases...
Now, what makes Peoples Hernandez great is that he
is without a doubt a perfectly developed Bad Guy.
For one... He doesn’t think he’s the bad guy. He’s
just providing a living for himself and his familia.
He’s just a neighborhood drug lord. Nothing big...
nothing flashy. He’s the sort of thug that would hang
chandeliers all over the place because it’s classy. He
carries an icepick with him.
He’s a machismo mean mutherfucker. He doesn’t
want no piece of the law. He just wants to sell his
smack and live in peace... But when the shit hits the
fan... He will not hesitate to kill everyone in his way.
Now... I’m gonna leave that at that. Trust me.
Jeffrey Wright delivers a character that will be one of
those roles that we’ll carry with us for a couple of
years. And the way he uses that fucking icepick...
dear God. Just... damn... Just do not screw with this
guy. I mean... jesus.
Now.... basically this is a simple... Crime is
committed. Bad guy caught dead to rights. Witness
runs. Search for witness. Beat bad guys to witness
and protect the witness type of story.
And at the beginning... I thought... HMMM... Sam
Jackson vs Christian Bale eh? Hmmmmm...
Christian Bale is sooooo gonna get his ass kicked.
But then... This Jeffrey Wright character starts getting
involved... and then there’s all sorts of corruption...
and then the body count begins.
Now this isn’t no fucking pussy out bullet ballet like
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2. Here... Without really
ape-ing Woo... Singleton and his editors and dp have
created spectacular hard core violence. I mean...
Blood just flies every which way. Heavy duty head
shots, blood sprays and... man... it just gets hard as
BUT SEE... THIS ISN’T ALL THAT THIS FILM IS
In the very best of the Hong Kong epics, Shaft has
pathos and motivations. The bad guys are all
motivated as all hell. Everyone moves cool, every
gun shot reverbs through your chest.
There is a point where this film turns a corner, and
man... it flies.
Now... before that corner, the film is
ENTERTAINING AS HELL! Why? Because Sam
‘the man’ Jackson is literally the coolest man walking
And in this film... HE HAS NEVER BEEN
COOLER! Why? Because...
David Arnold has written a completely divine score
based completely upon the sound created in Isaac
Hayes brilliant SHAFT theme. He plays it just like
John Williams JAWS theme. Every moment that
Sam is set to just let loose on some poor deserving
fucker... all of a sudden it’s all...
‘bump da bum da bump da bump!”
And you are sitting there in your seat just thinking....
“Man, Shaft is gonna fuck your shit up!!!
hahahahha!!! Oh yeah... Take that!!! Oh yeah...
hahahahahaha Fucking A!!!!”
As soon as that badge comes off him... He’s turned a
corner. Suddenly he is liable to pistol whip every last
tooth out of a guy while screaming, “What’s my
Now... as for Christian Bale... he’s perfect in that...
oh... Remember the guy trying to score with Holly in
DIE HARD... the sleazy rich coke snorting dweeb
who negotiates tougher deals before breakfast? I
think his character was named Ellis... In fact yeah,
that’s exactly what it was. Well Bale is like a bigger
meaner more weaselly version of him. In a way, he’s
still Patrick Bateman... but amazingly because it’s not
just his schtick for 2 hours, and he is supported with a
brilliant selection of cool ass people and terrific
action, thrills, sounds and motions... He works
perfectly. But he is nowhere near the driving force I
thought he was made out to be by the pre-hype on the
This film firmly belongs to Jeffrey Wright and Sam
For all of us Hong Kong geeks that have been
wondering what the translation to America would be.
Remember when Robert Rodriguez was talking about
when he was thinking of making EL MARIACHI and
he was talking about how he wanted to make
Mexicans as cool as Chow Yun Fat?
Well just think... Singleton is starting off with SAM
JACKSON. Already one of the coolest beings ever
seen on the planet. Well, John has created the
ultimate Black Superhero here. I mean, Sam’s
SHAFT is a complete bad mofo.
Sure... there isn’t any real sex in the film for Shaft...
but you know what... this isn’t the original Shaft.
This movie kicks that film’s ass. I like the original
Shaft, but always thought it paled next to
Actually... the movie that this MOST reminds me off
is DIRTY HARRY. But completely different in all
aspects EXCEPT that Sam Jackson is everybit as
good as SHAFT as Eastwood was as Harry. And...
Jeffrey Wright is everybit as good as Peoples as
Andrew Robinson was as Scorpio.
And you know what’s weird. The original SHAFT
came out the same year as DIRTY HARRY... and
both of them came out the same year that I did. 1971.
FINALLY... After a month of subpar flicks, I have
my badass summer film. See, as much as I like
GLADIATOR.... This just has that funky as hell
sound that will be driving me to take multiple friends
over and over to this one.
Somebody... tell Jeffrey and Sam.... Way to fucking
go Man! Now... Singleton... Let’s see this as a
trilogy of badass films. Each one even tougher and
meaner than the one before... till you get to that last
film.... and you release it as a ultrahard NC-17
God-fearing epic of coolness. heheheh...
If you liked HARD BOILED, THE KILLER, DIRTY
HARRY, POINT BLANK, A BETTER
TOMORROW, KISS ME DEADLY, THE LIMEY, etc....
This is the movie to put that rhythm in your step
again. IT RULES!