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3BlackChicks Enterprises™ "Guest Starring" movie commentary
Note: The views and opinions expressed in "Guest Starring" movie commentary are not necessarily the views of 3BlackChicks Enterprises™; commentary presented in original form as submitted by "Guest Star" commentator, except where noted otherwise; copyright belongs to respective authors.

[Editor's note: Chris is a regular--and beloved--contributor to the 3BC "Viewer Voices" ™ webboard, and as anyone who goes there often knows, an unapologetic Shaft aficionado. There was no question in my mind that 3BC would feature his review of the current Shaft (2000) movie when it came out, but I was pleasantly surprised when he also sent me his tribute to the three original "Shaft" flicks starring Richard Roundtree and added to the Video Vault, and a "Shaft"-related "Beyond The Screen" article. The lateness of the posting of his work is my fault, but they're worth a read, if only as glimpse into a mind possessed... /bams].

A tribute to Shaft
(1971, 1972, and 1973 versions)

Review Copyright Chris Utley, 2000

June 16 will be a landmark day for Black Cinema. As the otha man/woman celebrated Pierce Brosnan taking over the role of James Bond in 1995 with GoldenEye, African-Americans (well...most of us) are celebrating Samuel L. Jackson taking over the role of the supa cool, often-imitated, never duplicated, super bad private dick, and all around baaaaad mutha...


Yep...i'm talkin' bout Shaft-John Shaft...the greatest Black film hero ever with the coolest theme song of all time! For the 15 of you out there who are not familiar with my man's great adventures, allow me to bring you up to speed...


Movie: Shaft (1971)
Director: Gordon Parks, Sr
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn

The Plot: Our man Shaft is hired by a Harlem crime boss to rescue his kidnapped daughter. The boss tells Shaft that some small time Black Panther revolutionary types did the job. After confronting their leader, an old pal of Shaft's, the boss reveals that the Mafia did the deed and it's up to Shaft and the band of revolutionaries to get her back.

The Verdict: Coolness from start to finish. Richard Roundtree IS finesse on celluloid! The one-liners are now part of the American Lexicon. The story is crisp...real real crisp. You'll definitely find yourself rooting for Mr. Shaft by the end of the flick. The legendary Issac Hayes score is timeless soul. Classic! Classic! Classic!



Movie: Shaft's Big Score (1972)
Director: Gordon Parks, Sr
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn

The Plot: One of Shaft's good friends is murdered by his business partner for his share of their funeral parlor/numbers running business. The business partner did the deed to pay back a Mafia boss for gambling debts. Shaft's gotta stop them both.

The Verdict: They had more money to spend on the action scenes...and it shows. This is the most violent of the Shaft movies (although I hear this new one takes the cake) with Shaft handling business with a big big big gun (watch for the exploding chests). Not as much humor as the first one, but, heck, Roundtree is Shaft...need I say more. Cool theme song: "Blow Your Mind" by O.C. Smith...the chick who's talking 'bout Shaft is a hoot. One line she says, "The man's trouble! He's been to my house!" Good action flick. Good Shaft sequel.



Movie: Shaft In Africa (1973)
Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Vonetta McGee

The Plot: Shaft goes the 007 route when an African king recruits him to pose as a slave in Africa to bust up a modern day slave trade originating from France.

The Verdict: This one will take a few viewings to appreciate least it did for me. The baaad mutha...element is gone from this one, but it does provide a great attempt for the "Shaft" character to grow to another level. Good action scenes with Shaft using a stick...yep, a his primary weapon...till the slam-bang ending. There's even a good one-liner involving his stick-fighting skills. And in the funniest scene of the film, he proves that "sex machine to ALL the chicks" theory when the leader of the slave ring uses his ho...I mean, bait to catch Brotha Shaft. Cool theme song by The Four Tops called "Are You Man Enough."


Hopefully, this brief description of Shaft's screen adventures should keep you busy at the video store as you prepare to witness the Y2K version of Shaft. I'm really hoping John Singleton did a good job with this update. There's a lot to gain and a lot to lose with the success of "Shaft 2K"...more on that Beyond The Screen ...

As always, drop me a line at or directly at to add your two cents, corrections and all that. I'm also pleased to announce that our fair Bams has commisioned me to review "Shaft 2K". Groovy! So when I see it, I'll post my review at [editor's note: he's seen it]. In the meantime, dust off that Shaft soundtrack (or pop it in your CD if you got it) and groove on, brothas & sistas, GROOVE ON!

Can't get enough of those golden oldies? Open the "Video Vault" for more flicks from yesteryear!

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