John Shaft, the "black private dick" that's "a sex machine to all the chicks" may be one of cinema's most iconic anti-heroes, but he hasn't been seen on the big screen for quite some time. Famed actor Samuel L. Jackson portrayed the detective back in 2000, but despite the popular names attached to the movie, there hasn't been a reprisal, reboot or remake ever since. Now, 17 years after the release of Shaft, the man currently known to many as Nick Fury in the Marvel movies is set to reprise his role as Shaft in the franchise's long-delayed reboot.
Get Ready For The Shaft Family Reunion
As reported by Variety, MGM was actually planning on rebooting the series before settling with another soft reboot that will unite all of the #Shaft actors to date. This time around, #SamuelLJackson will play a father to Independence Day: Resurgence star Jessie T. Usher, who is set to be the newest John Shaft. Richard Roundtree will also reprise his role as Jackson's uncle and the original Shaft.
Titled Son of Shaft, the film finds FBI agent John Shaft III (Usher) forced to work with his estranged father, Detective John Shaft II (Jackson), when a case he's investigating turns out to be more than initially thought. A clash of old school and modern-day detective methods ensues, as both Shafts race to get to the bottom of the case.
#SonOfShaft will be directed by Tim Story of Ride Along fame, while the script was penned by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. The movie will start shooting later in the fall of this year, and is expected to be released in 2018.
The Enduring Legacy Of That Bad Mother
Unlike other nostalgic film franchises such as Ghostbusters and A Nightmare on Elm Street that were rebooted for new audiences, the Shaft movies passed the torch from one lead actor to the next. This in turn gave the series a cohesive continuity and a sensible passage of time between sequels, something few franchises can boast about. However, what matters more than returning characters are the themes that have become synonymous with the series.
Shaft's cinematic adventures began in the '70s with the release of the original Shaft trilogy starring Roundtree as the titular detective. Back then, a major Hollywood movie starring an ass-kicking black man was unheard of, which is why African-American audiences quickly resonated with the films, turning Shaft into a cultural icon. Shaft unapologetically tackled everyday racism and the nature of its crime-ridden setting, making these films continually relevant.
In fact, Shaft (1971) was so influential that it kick-started the film subgenre known as "Blaxploitation", which remains popular to this day albeit through homages and parodies. The first movie was even selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the American National Film Registry in 2000.
The first soft reboot that starred Jackson incorporated these themes into its narrative, but the movie wasn't a big hit among audiences despite its relatively positive critical reception. With a new Shaft movie on the horizon, the return of the cat that "won't cop out when there's danger all about" looks to update the franchise with contemporary relevance.
Are you looking forward to a new installment in the Shaft series? Share your thoughts in the comments below.