The ‘Shaft’ reboot reviews are in and they’re not good

Sam Ashurst
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 12: Samuel L. Jackson attends the premiere of Shaft during the 23rd Annual American Black Film Festival on June 12, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)

The reviews for Samuel L Jackson’s Shaft sequel / reboot have started to come in, and it’s not good news for anyone looking forward to it (if, indeed, there is anyone looking forward to it).

A sequel that - for some reason - has the same title as the last instalment of the franchise, sees Samuel L Jackson’s John Shaft returning to fight crime when his son asks for help following the death of a friend.

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It’s a decent enough premise, but the reviews have surely shafted (sorry) the film’s chances at the box office.

“Among all the cardinal sins of moviemaking it commits (up to and including reusing an iconic needle drop from a Martin Scorsese movie), the worst is this: It makes Shaft look uncool,” Ignatiy Vishnevetsky says for AV Club.

Katie Walsh at Tribune News Service had a more extreme reaction. “Remember "Shaft"? How about more "Shaft," but with more hacky jokes about millennials and an incredibly ugly homophobic streak?”

Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie Usher, and Richard Roundtree (credit: Warner Brothers)

“Its nothing-special plot, the product of writers Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow, features ill-defined villains and briefly touches on Islamophobia and military veteran PTSD and drug abuse - and never follows up on any of those issues,” says Soren Andersen at Seattle Times.

“Shaft plays more like an Expendables version of the original films, a shadow of its former self that revels in a cartoonishly hyper-masculine nostalgia of a bygone era,” according to Hoai-Tran Bui at Slashfilm.

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Still, some people liked it. “The Scooby-Doo plot actually adds to the fun if you don't think about it too much. And this Shaft isn't here to be thought about. It's a cool time and great splash of summer action,” says Brad Keefe at Columbus Alive.

You can read the full versions of all the above reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.

And it won’t be long until you’re able to make up your own mind. Netflix co-financed the film, in exchange for the ability to release it worldwide two weeks after its cinema debut.

Shaft is in cinemas from 14 June, and will be on Netflix on 28 June.