Time Out saysA credit sequence commingles succulent skin and glistening weaponry, set to a beefed up version of Isaac Hayes' theme tune, but this turns out to be the cinematic equivalent of sticking a gherkin down your pants. Shaft's a new man - John Shaft Mk II, nephew of the original private eye, and working within, if not for, the system as a representative of the NYPD. As embodied by Jackson, he's slick and street savvy, but a little ground down. Some geriatric honky judge has let loose his recent catch, racist yuppie brat Walter Wade Jr (Bale), charged with a wanton race murder. When the villain returns from a two-year bail-hop to cock a snook, Shaft throws in his badge and races Walter to find waitress Collette, the sole witness to the killing. With this humdrum plot, there's plenty of scope for Wright to try hijacking the proceedings with a near unintelligible turn as a Latino drug dealer; also for a bunch of shoot-outs, car chases and other surprises. In short, anonymous and business-like.
Cast and crew
Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Busta Rhymes, Dan Hedaya, Toni Collette, Richard Roundtree, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Josef Sommer, Lynne Thigpen, Philip Bosco, Vanessa Williams, Samuel L Jackson, Pat Hingle