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by Vivian Rose 6/20/2000

I never saw the original "Shaft" but I found the new "Shaft", starring Samuel Jackson, entertaining. Jackson is Detective John Shaft, a New York cop who occasionally acts in a rather unprofessional manner (he punches out a handcuffed suspect in one scene). However, he does have provocation - Shaft is just delivering his version of justice.

"Shaft" involves two plotlines that merge toward the end: A racist - and very rich- white man murders an African-American man, and manages to avoid conviction - at least for a while. Shaft searches for a key witness who could settle the case. Meanwhile, a Latino gangster named Peoples makes trouble and Shaft takes care of him too. Jackson is a terrific actor and is excellent as Shaft (although I thought Denzel Washington would have been great in this role too). Vanessa Williams, who I have to say is starting to look really old, has an unproductive role as another police officer. The plot and occasional comedy were well- written.

"Shaft" is interesting for a while, but it helps if you like cop stories. (If you're an "NYPD Blue" fan, you'll probably love this movie.) I became a little bored toward the end (the last half- hour was all action and little plot) but basically I enjoyed "Shaft".