See It at the Movies

SHAFT

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SHAFT

* * ½

(Three Shafts for price of one)

The Shaft story lives on, and this time there are three of them.

The movie opens with John Shaft driving through Harlem in 1989, with his wife and baby in the car, as the bad guys try to assassinate him. They escape. Shaft's wife sends him packing, raising their son without a father.

The years pass. Junior (Jessie T. Usher) graduates from MIT and becomes a cyber-security expert for the FBI and somewhat of a nerd. His best friend is murdered. The FBI rules it a drug overdose, but young John knows his friend wasn't a junkie. He turns to his long lost father (Samuel L. Jackson, as cool as ever) for help, even though he doesn't like or respect him. What we get is some serious culture clash as the Harlem street-smart private detective tries to shape his mousy, gun-hating son into his image.

Junior has "father figure deprivation,” as he tags along behind his slick, violent father and learns how it is done in Harlem. Turns out that dad has an ulterior motive dating back to the opening scene, but they work together to bring down drug dealers and money launderers and, of course, eventually bond.

It comes down to the big showdown, with father and son enlisting the help of grandfather (Richard Roundtree).

Corny? Yes. Amusing? Somewhat. Worth your money? If it's raining and you have nothing better to do.

Rated R with lots of violence, a bit of nudity, lots of profanity and drug use.

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