Shaft is an action-comedy directed by Tim Story and written by Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow. Unlike its predecessor, which was distributed by Paramount Pictures, this film is produced by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the fifth film in the Shaft film series and a sequel to the 2000 film with the same title. Given the last version of Shaft, I didn’t expect too much from this version — however, it ended up being pretty decent and pretty funny.
The film starts in 1989, John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson), his wife Maya Babanikos (Regina Hall) and their infant son, John “JJ” Shaft Jr., survives an assassination attempt by druglord, Pierro “Gordito” Carrera (Isaach de Bankolé). Concerned Shaft’s lifestyle would expose them to even more danger, Maya thought it best to leave her husband and raise their son on her own. 25 years later, JJ (Jessie Usher) is a grown man with a degree from MIT. He has just landed a position as a cybersecurity expert with the FBI.
After JJ’s childhood friend, Karim (Avan Jogia), dies a suspicious death, JJ concludes he must have been murdered, so he travels to Harlem to investigate further. The drug dealer who runs the neighborhood and sold the heroin that allegedly killed Karim, has JJ violently ejected from his property. While recovering in the hospital, another childhood friend, who is a nurse, Sasha (Alexandra Shipp) reads Karim’s toxicology report and realizes that the amount of heroin in Karim’s system would have killed him long before he could take that much by himself, providing proof he was murdered. With no other recourse, JJ turns to his father, John Shaft II, who is a private investigator, for assistance. Shaft agrees to help after realizing that JJ’s case may lead him to Gordito, who he has been holding a vendetta against for years. The two begin investigating together, but JJ’s progressive white-collar outlook on life clashes with Shaft’s old-school street ways. After confronting Manuel Orozco (Ian Casselberry) again, Shafts investigates “Brothers Watching Brothers”, the drug rehab clinic Karim was a part of. There they learn that Karim stopped going to rehab in favor of attending services at a mosque, currently under suspicion by the FBI for terrorism.
Apparently, this version of Shaft was the better of the two versions featuring Samuel L. Jackson. Some of the jokes were really funny. The plot was somewhat predictable but made sense. The story goes into Shaft’s raunchy lifestyle of women, booze, drugs and violence. For the most part, the acting was good however, Jessie Usher could use a bit more polishing. As usual, any movie with Samuel Jackson has way too much profanity. Shaft was no exception to the amount of bad language throughout the film. Also, the use of the “N” word was excessive. I understand in that space and time, the “N” word was considered only semi quasi bad, however, I could have done without it. Shaft will probably be offensive to some and some will be okay with the verbiage. The original Shaft Sr. (Richard Roundtree) was a nice touch to end the movie, however, I would wait for the DVD or skip it altogether. Shaft received mixed reviews from critics, but positive responses from audiences and has grossed $17 million. Check It Out if you dare!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alexandra shipp, avan jogia, Bennie rodriguez, Freddie p, isaach de bankole, jessie usher, jj shaft Jr, John shaft ii, Karim hassan, Lauren velez, major Gary cutworth, Matt Laurie, Maya babanikos, method man, Pierre "gordito" Carrera, private investigator, regina hall, richard roundtree, robbie Jones, samuel l jackson, Sasha arias, sergeant Keith Williams, shaft, shaft sr, special agent vietti, titus welliver
“What Men Want” is a fantasy comedy directed by Adam Shankman and is loosely based on the 2000 film, “What Women Want” in reverse gender. The plot follows a woman who, after drinking a potent concoction given by a shaman, gains the ability to hear men’s inner thoughts. While this is not a new concept, the movie is surprisingly funny.
Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is an executive sports agent working for Summit Worldwide Management, which is mostly male-dominated. She’s been over-looked for partner several times but believes today is the day. She and her gay assistant Brandon (Josh Brener), who wants to be a sports rep, are gearing up toward a celebration, believing she is going to make partner. Ali is passed over once again, which makes her fighting mad. Ali’s boss, Nick (Brian Bosworth), acknowledges that Ali is a hard worker but he says she just doesn’t connect well with the other men. Ali announces to everyone in the building that she WILL sign rising basketball superstar Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie) and prove to others why she deserves to be partner. Ali goes to meet her co-workers as they try to work out a deal with Jamal and his father, Joe Dolla (Tracy Morgan) but fails.
Ali spends time with her father Skip (Richard Roundtree) at the boxing gym he manages before they go to grab dinner. Skip points out a new bartender named Will (Aldis Hodge), whom Ali finds attractive. She stays there to introduce herself, and Will makes her a special cocktail. They go back to his house where they end up engaging in a wild night of sex. In the morning, Ali is in for a surprise when Will’s six year old son Ben (Auston Moore), appears in the bedroom wearing her panties on his head siting, “Wakonda forever” from the movie, Black Panther. She realizes she is late for work and runs out, showing up to a photo shoot wearing evidence of her wild night.
Ali is scheduled to attend a bachelorette party that evening for Mari, (Tamala Jones) one of her three best girlfriends, which also includes Ciarra, (Phoebe Robinson) and Olivia (Wendi McLendon-Covey), who employed the services of a psychic named Sister (Erikah Badu). Ali is first to get a reading by Sister and is given tea made of weed, Peyote and Cocaine. While dancing, Ali is hit by a questionable object that causes her to fall, hit her head and pass out. She wakes up in a hospital where she discovers she is able to hear her male doctor’s thoughts. Ali is so freaked out by her new found power, she runs all the way to her company building able to hear the thoughts of all males around her. Upset, she tracks down the psychic for help. Sister advices her to use this gift to get what she wants at work. Agreeing, Ali goes back to her job and starts listening to the mind of her colleagues.
I was truly surprised at how funny “What Men Want” is. The original with Mel Gibson was nowhere near as funny. The story is full of scenes that are both hilarious and entertaining. Keep in mind, “What Men Want” is a fantasy comedy and consider my above lead-in to be short and sweet because there is so much more to come in the actual film. The acting is absolutely brilliant as is the plot. Viewers rated “What Men Want” five out of five stars, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before. Rotten Tomatoes was just that, a rotten rating of only 43%. I have no clue why they rated the movie so low but I really enjoyed it. Check It Out, you won’t be sorry.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged aldis hodge, alison "ali" davis, auston jon moore, ben, brandon, brian bosworth, captain fucktastic, chris witaske, ciarra, danny, eddie, erykah badu, ethan, grant hill, jamal barry, jason jones, joe "dolla" barry, josh brener, karl-anthony towns, kellan lutz, Kevin, mari, mark cuban, max greenfield, nick, olivia, pete davidson, phoebe robinson, richard roundtree, shane paul mcghie, shaquille o'neal, sister, skip davis, tamala jones, taraji p henson, tracy morgan, wendi mclendon-covey, what men want, will