Shaft Parent Guide
Exactly what you'd expect from the reboot of an old franchise - but with an unbelievable amount of profanity thrown in.
Parent Movie Review
John Shaft, Jr. (Jessie Usher) is a cybersecurity analyst with the FBI, struggling to be recognized at work. However, when his best friend turns up dead of an alleged overdose, J.J. decides to investigate on his own. When that turns out poorly, he hires his father: John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson), private investigator. With his father’s help, J.J. begins to unravel the tangled web of gangs, drugs, and money that got his friend killed.
Let me be very clear right off the bat that Shaft is an R-rated film that scores nearly straight “D’s” in all our content categories. You are correct in assuming that this film is colossally inappropriate on just about every level. There are approximately 300 profanities, frequent acts of violence, almost non-stop sexual references and jokes, and scenes of alcohol and drug use. If that’s going to bother you, turn back: here there be dragons. With that out of the way, here’s what you can expect from this movie beyond the graphic violence, profanity, and sex.
Samuel L. Jackson is having so much fun in this role, I’m not sure they had to pay him to show up. Being allowed to curse as much as he wants probably helps. John Shaft, as played by Jackson, is clearly having a grand time being a violent, lecherous, alcoholic lunatic, and that suits the character perfectly. Richard Roundtree also seems to be having a blast back in his old Shaft shoes as John Senior, and the two characters play off each other well.
The plot isn’t anything fancy, but it’s not terrible. The pacing is brisk and the plot points are simple enough that they work without detailed explanation, which really helps the nearly two-hour movie keep moving. The soundtrack is the real star of the show, with a mix of 70’s and 80’s funk and modern rap that accompanies each character. Whatever your preference in that mix, there’s something in this movie you’ll like. For me, James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing” was the big winner.
Shaft is exactly what you’d expect from another big Hollywood franchise reboot - a mix of maudlin sentimentality for the older films and a desperate attempt to recruit younger viewers to the franchise. Without any bold moves away from formula though, Shaft seems likely to fail in both respects. Older fans will always prefer the originals, and younger viewers probably will too, since constant jokes about how stupid and infantile Millennials are seem to test poorly with Millennial audiences. Wonder why that is…Directed by Tim Story. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Avan Jogia, and Alexandra Shipp. Running time: 111 minutes. Theatrical release June 14, 2019. Updated June 19, 2019
Rating & Content Info
Why is Shaft rated R? Shaft is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language, violence, sexual content, some drug material and brief nudity.
Violence: Throughout the film, people are beaten, shot, hit with bats, and occasionally stabbed. In one instance, an individual breaks another person’s fingers to obtain information.
Sexual Content: Sexual references, descriptions, and jokes are ubiquitous in this movie, and frankly, I can’t describe most of them on a family website. There is one brief instance of female breast nudity in a non-sexual context.
Profanity: There are approximately 300 profanities in this film. So many of them are sexual expletives that I lost count after the first ten minutes but there are at least 100. There are also scores of scatological terms, crude anatomical expressions, mild obscenities, racial slurs, and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are a few scenes of adults drinking socially in bars and restaurants. One character is shown drinking early in the morning but is confronted about the unhealthy nature of this behavior. A character gets excessively drunk to the point of vomiting at a nightclub. In this club, people are shown cutting lines of what is presumably cocaine. Throughout the film, small bags of drugs are shown but not used.
Page last updated June 19, 2019
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Classic novels about private detectives include The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, and A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton.
Related home video titles:
Want detective stories with fewer content issues? We’ve got some fun whodunits for you.
Murder on the Orient Express features a corpse on a snowbound train – and the killer is trapped on the train with everyone else. Hercule Poirot will need to use all the “little grey cells of the brain” to deduce the identity of the murderer.It’s elementary that anyone who is interested in solving crime will want to watch Sherlock Holmes. The great detective tackles a criminal mastermind seeking global domination.