The first trailer for Shaft unites three generations of badass law enforcement. The original Shaft from 1971 starred Richard Roundtree as the title character, a private detective working on a kidnapping case. The film became an instant classic in the blaxploitation genre thanks to Roundtree’s performance and the memorable soundtrack by Isaac Hayes. The film’s success led to two direct sequels – Shaft’s Big Score! and Shaft In Africa. Roundtree later expressed regret over appearing in the short-lived TV spinoff of Shaft for CBS, which he felt was a watered-down take on the character.
The franchise was revived in 2000 with Shaft, starring Samuel L. Jackson. While the film started life as a remake, Jackson insisted the movie make him the nephew of the original Shaft so Roundtree could appear. The film co-starred Christian Bale, who signed on as the villain in part because he got to have a climactic fight sceen with Jackson; this scene was cut from the final movie. Shaft 2000 was a moderate success, but Jackson later revealed he clashed with director John Singleton (2 Fast 2 Furious) during production over the movie’s tone.
Related: Shaft Official Poster Released
It was announced in 2017 a Shaft reboot was in the works, with Tim Story directing and Jesse T. Usher signing on to play the son of Jackson’s Shaft. Now the first trailer for the movie has arrived, which finds Usher as a somewhat geeky FBI agent who enlists the help of his father and John Shaft 1 (Roundtree) when his best friend is killed.
The new Shaft is certainly playing up the buddy cop element and milking the dynamic between cool father and nerdy son for laughs. It also reveals Roundtree’s Shaft is still a total badass. What’s interesting to note is the movie was originally called Son Of Shaft, implying the film would focus more on Usher’s character than his dad. Looking at both the trailer and poster it appears the focus has shifted back to Jackson’s Shaft as the lead character. Given Jackson’s current box office popularity and the success of his recent buddy action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard, this isn’t much of a surprise.
The new Shaft was produced as part of a co-production deal with Netflix, who put up half of the $30M budget in exchange for international distribution two weeks after it premieres in U.S. cinemas. Paramount reached a similar agreement with the streaming platform with their sci-fi movie Annihilation in 2018, with the movie rolling out internationally two weeks after the movie opened in North America and China.
Source: Warner Bros.
- Shaft (2019) release date: Jun 14, 2019