From Bullitt to Dirty Harry, 60s and 70s Hollywood was full of “tough cops with an attitude”, and John Shaft, played by Richard Roundtree (Speed Racer), was the black version. While not exactly a cop, Shaft is nevertheless a New York private detective, who operates in Harlem and doesn’t take shit from anybody, be it the bad guys or the cops, be it his foes, friends or lovers.
In the film, made to capitalize on the “blaxploitation” trend of the time, which had just started, smooth-talking Shaft is hired by local black mob boss Bumpy Jonas to find and rescue his kidnapped daughter. Along the way, Shaft will do plenty of walking around, plenty of smooth-talking, plenty of not taking shit from anybody, plenty of lovin’, and a little bit of action too.
Co-starring with Roundtree are Moses Gunn (Firestarter) and Charles Cioffi (Shadow Conspiracy). Shaft was directed by Gordon Parks (Leadbelly) and is based on a novel by Ernest Tidyman (Air Force One), who adapted the book with John D.F. Black (Trouble Man). Trailer and review after the jump.