Shaft’s Big Score

Synopsis: He’s back big time! The bash-‘n’-smash follow-upito Shaft!

You can’t say the mob wasn’t warned about John Shaft. “He’s a bad dude,” a numbers racketeer cautions them. Now Shaft himself will deliver that message in a way New York City’s wise guys understand.

Richard Roundtree reunites with the director (Gordon Parks) and the screenwriter (Ernest Tidyman) of 1971’s trendsetting Shaft for Shaft’s Big Score!, the second of Roundtree’s three movie portrayals of the street-smart, leather-jacketed private investigator. This time, the blown-to-kingdom-come murder of a client plunges Shaft into a case that bounces him like a pinball between the 133rd Precinct and competing mobs. But the players are about to be played in this “rousing and entertaining thriller” (Newsweek).

Shaft’s Big Score 7.5

In ‘Shaft’s Big Score’, Richard Roundtree is back – and Shaft truly is bigger and better than before! Unlike John Singleton’s 2000 offshoot, it’s a proper sequel to the original film: it was the first follow-up, featured many of the same cast and crew, and it came out the year after the original.

Except that, in light of ‘Shaft’s unexpected box office success, this film wasn’t just cobbled together: it was made with real money and a lot more effort was put into honing it into a solid action film – as opposed to a quick exploitation cash-grab.

So it’s much better than the original, on account of better acting (even by the returning actors!), pacing, production and action sequences. Still, it nonetheless feels like a case of “been there, done that” – there wasn’t much I haven’t seen in other action flicks before.

After seeing the other two, ‘Shaft’s Big Score’ was a nice surprise; it was a half-decent, enjoyable action flick. But I still don’t get the iconic nature of the series. And I will certainly not be seeing ‘Shaft in Africa’ (sounds lame, and from most accounts it is!) or the television series (it was sanitized for prime-time!) anytime soon.

That was quite enough Shaft for me for now.

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