12 August 2019

A Disappointing Shaft?

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Podcasts
So I watched a Shaft film for the first time ever the other night. As in, the blaxploitation franchise, obviously. That's not just what I call pornos. If that was the case then I'd have to say that I'd spent my teenage years attempting to find the limit of how many shaft films that a single brain could take. I suppose that I should clarify further too that I didn't actually watch Shaft, the 1971 film featuring Richard Roundtree as Shaft, or even Shaft the 2000 film featuring Samuel L Jackson as Shaft. But rather I watched Shaft the 2019 film with Richard Roundtree, Samuel L Jackson and some young dweeb called Jessie Usher as Shaft, Shaft, and just one more Shaft. Essentially this film works on the same principle of a gangbang in that it assumes that the more Shafts there are, the more fun things will be. Roundtree is the oldest Shaft and father to Jackson's Shaft II, who in turn is the father of Usher's Shaft Jr. I also guess that the characters of Shaft are about as imaginative at naming their children as the filmmakers are with this franchise. There are only five Shaft films with three of them being called Shaft. Where's the fun in that? Has anybody even told them that the shaft is also what we call the bit of a dick that isn't the tip? It'd be ironic if not because I spent this movie hating these characters so much that where I was supposed to see three Shafts I could only really see three bellends.

Like being badly wanked off by a monkey with arthritic hands, the film begins with a Shaft being rubbed up the wrong way. Shaft Jr's best-friend Karim dies in a suspicious drugs overdose in which there was so much heroin in his system that he should have died before being able to administer it all to himself. So either he was drugged and murdered by somebody else or he died doing what Keith Richards used to call casual Tuesdays. Although his death is so abrupt that I quite literally had to pause the film and google exactly who the dead character was. Right before that Shaft Jr and Karim were hanging out and enjoying their night on the town, Shaft Jr went to bed and is awoken the next morning by a phone call from his Mum. “They've found him”, his Mum says crying as Shaft Jr leaps out of bed fully aware of whatever the fuck she's talking about. In the space of one single cut, we skip over Karim getting lost, murdered, were discovered missing, looked for, and then found dead. I honestly thought that I'd had a fucking blackout because of how far the film had suddenly fucking leapt. Despite working for the FBI, Shaft Jr decides that he needs the help of his estranged father Jackson's Shaft II who knows the streets better on account of him being a private investigator. Because this film wasn't filled with enough euphemisms already it seems that one of the Shafts is also an actual private dick.

The film attempts to be a sort of cross-generational buddy comedy in which the older Shaft II and the younger Shaft Jr bicker about the differences in their worldview. Shaft II is a politically incorrect ladies man who likes to shoot first and then make a misogynistic comment later on. Shaft Jr is more of a modern man who hates guns and spends too much time being a nerd behind his computer. The only problem is that like a Nun at a wankathon, this witless film doesn't have the skill to pull off one Shaft let alone two, and as such, it presents them both at such an extreme end of each spectrum that I hated them both. For the bulk of the movie, Jackson's Shaft throws homophobic slurs at his son to the point that you'd think that the film had been sponsored by the fucking Westboro Baptist Church. We aren't meant to be laughing at Jackson's Shaft for being homophobic but rather we're meant to be laughing with him as though his bluntness is simply what we were all thinking. My favourite of these might be about half-way through the movie though in which Shaft II finds out that his son doesn't like guns or supports a support group or something and becomes so enraged by this perceived effeteness that he simply screams “WHAT DOES PUSSY LOOK LIKE?” Shaft Jr fails to answer, but of course, the correct answer is, “it depends on what your standards are”. In the case of Shaft II, I'd guess that it looks like a pork scratching that being crushed inside an old leather wallet and then left to mold.

At the start of the film, we see Jackson's Shaft II in the 1980s with the actor having endured some pretty fucking horrendous de-ageing technique. He's wearing so much fucking make-up that it's like a haunted ventriloquists doll has come to life and decided to make it as a Samuel L Jackson impersonator. He looks like one of those fucking cheap knock-off toys of a popular brand as though he's now playing Mick Fury from 'The Marvels Assemble'. Although even this was better than the modern-day version of Jackson's Shaft who spends the movie channelling a fat, creepy Uncle. I don't mean to body shame him but he had a weird Tony Stark-style chin beard and a polo neck jumper which left about an inch of extra double-chin poking out throughout. I wouldn't normally mention it but his character was a proper arse-hole and it just constantly hung there like a nut-less ballsack dangling from his face. At one point he exclaims that “if James Bond was real he'd wish he was me”, which I guess is because he thinks he's cool. But honestly, I'd say that this Shaft is more Harvey Weinstein than 007 and I say that whilst being completely aware of Bonds already dubious-at-best relationship with women. Did I find it believable when women showed an interest in Jackson's creepy old Shaft after he'd confused a chat-up line with sexual harassment? No. Can I picture his character forcing a woman to watch him wank furiously into a potted plant? I mean, that may have happened in the film I can imagine it so fucking clearly.

Shaft Jr, however, is the absolute definition of a complete fucking idiot. Near the end of the film, a character is shot and as the screen fades to black we hear his whiny fucking voice screaming, “what do I do? What do I do? What do I do?” I can appreciate that he doesn't like using guns but he's a fucking FBI agent. Surely they're trained to stay calm under pressure? One person gets a simple flesh wound and he instantly bursts into an impression of a panicky child that's wiped its own arse for the first time ever and somehow managed to get a bit of shit in its eyes. His FBI boss is played by Deadwood's Titus Welliver who seems to have drawn inspiration for his character from the picture of the angry face that they show to sociopaths when teaching them about basic human emotions. He tells Shaft Jr not to investigate a particular Mosque that has seemingly done nothing wrong . Shaft Jr ignores this, investigates the Mosque anyway and causes an incident that leads the media to accuse the FBI of racism. Shaft Jr then gets a phone call from Titus asking why he's also been failing to show up to his office for the last few days. When his excuse for everything essentially boils down to, “I'm hanging out with my misogynistic father”, he seems surprised and annoyed to find himself suspended. I mean what the fuck did he expect would happen? I got into trouble when I was a paperboy for just tossing half of my deliveries into a fucking bin but at least my mistake didn't lead to national headlines and increase in racial tensions for my local fucking area.

Roundtree's older Shaft manages to retain a little more dignity than those other two but only because he fails to show up until the final ten minutes. He walks around with a forced sense of cool as though he's the voice of reason. But as is the case at a gay sauna, an old man arriving to be nostalgic isn't what you want when you have two Shafts bashing heads against each other. I think that he's trying to be suave but he reminded me of the time Grandpa Simpson started a fight with a tramp for failing to paint his chicken coop in 1947 after paying him in fucking corn muffins. When the mystery has been resolved and the bad guy has turned out to be the one person that you knew it'd been from the start, the film decides to throw in one more cliché for good luck. Having redeemed his name, Titus offers Shaft Jr his FBI badge back and can you guess what he does with it? I don't want to ruin anything but it was an act of such predictable cringe that my body performed the kind spasm that's only usually seen during a fucking exorcism. The final shot of the film is actually on the poster and involves the three men wearing long coats, sunglasses, and walking out into the road and into traffic. The cars screech to a halt to let them cross which is supposed to show how much respect the world has for them. But walking into traffic is such a mad bastard thing to do that the scene plays out as though a group of dementia patients of gotten fucking lost. Sure it's nice when three family members can see eye to eye but by the time that the three Shafts have rubbed off on each other, the end result is too much of a wanky mess for me to care. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

No comments :

Post a Comment