It's fairly dated with not the most well written script - but a great central performance from Richard Roundtree and 'that' inconic theme song make Shaft work. There aren't many actors in Hollywood who play convincing hard men - but Roundtree actually seems like he could go a few rounds if he had to. I'd put him up there with Bronson, Jack Palance and Lee Marvin. Forget all the martial arts crap and abs of steel... all real men need is a well-placed punch and a witty comeback. I've seen a few blaxploitation films and Shaft is certainly the best of the bunch.
Time Out saysRenowned for its Isaac Hayes score, and as the first mainstream, commercially successful film about a black private eye, Parks' film is a hip, cool, entertaining thriller that in fact never really says very much at all about the Black experience in America; rather, it merely takes the traditional crime-fighting hero, paints him black, and sets him down in a world populated by more blacks than Hollywood movies were used to. Roundtree turns in a strong performance, investigating a racketeer's criminal activities, while at the same time trying to find the man's kidnapped daughter.