Shaft (2000)

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Shaft (2000) Movie Poster Image
Update of '70s classic has lots of violence and cursing.
  • R
  • 2000
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie explores the injustices of racism, on the streets and in the courtroom. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

This is a remake of the classic 1971 movie. When the original movie was released, it was still extremely rare for African Americans to have leading roles in movies and television programs. This remake keeps the focus of the original on institutional racism, and trying to live on one's own terms. 

Violence

Lots of peril, lots of shooting and fighting, some deaths. Dead body on the street, blood. Character thrown out of an apartment, falls to his death. Drug dealer beaten up, pistol whipped in the face, blood. A central part of the story concerns the killing of an African American man by a white man outside of a nightclub. Character hit by car. Gunshots. Character stabbed in the hand. 

Sex

Beginning of the movie is a sex scene montage, breasts. Sexual references. 

Language

Frequent profanity throughout the movie. "Motherf---er" used a lot. "N" word used. "F--k," "d---head," "bulls--t," "p---k," "pissed," "bastard," "damn." 

Consumerism

Heineken bottles. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and smoking, scenes in bars, character is a drug dealer. Beer drinking. Marijuana smoking. Cigar smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shaft is the 2000 reboot of the 1971 original in which Samuel L. Jackson plays the nephew of the original Shaft. There's frequent profanity throughout the movie, including "motherf---er" and the "N" word. The movie centers on Shaft's attempt to bring a wealthy racist white man to justice after he kills an innocent African American man on the sidewalk in front of a nightclub. There's some violence, including dead bodies found on the street, characters thrown out of apartments, characters shot, hit by cars, stabbed in the hand. Marijuana smoking, cigar smoking, drinking. The movie opens with a sex scene montage, with breasts shown. Movie explores themes of racial injustice, both on the street and in the courtroom. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAyy521 January 27, 2021
Adult Written byTylyndah May 3, 2020

Great action

The movie has great action and suspense. A lot of violence. A little sarcastic humour but great movie.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Director John Singleton, whose "Furious" character in Boyz N the Hood shared a lot of Shaft's outlook, has updated the movie and the character. This is a story about John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson), the nephew of the original Shaft (played again in this movie by Richard Roundtree), who is so far from his private detective uncle's commitment to independence that he's a policeman. But when a corrupt system lets a rich racist murderer jump bail, Shaft throws his badge at the judge like a ninja weapon and goes out on the street to see that justice is done.

Is it any good?

This movie gets four stars just for coolness. Samuel L. Jackson, the Armani leather coat, and the Oscar-winning theme song are a match made in heaven, and it's just plain popcorn-movie fun to see them all work it together.

The script is uneven and filled with holes, showing evidence of reported on-set disagreements between the producer, director, and star. Reportedly, too, Jeffrey Wright's performance as drug dealer Peoples Hernandez was so exciting that the movie was reworked to give him more screen time. That is easy to believe, because he's electrifying. That contributes, however, to the difficulty in managing all the plot threads. Efforts to bring the two bad guys together, the Dominican drug dealer and the preppy racist (Christian Bale) may provide some interesting moments, especially when the drug dealer starts networking in a holding cell, asking the preppy for his business card, but it slows the story down. But Singleton knows that when things waver, all he has to do is cut back to Jackson and the theme song to keep the audience happy, and it works remarkably well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Shaft knows when to follow the rules and when to break them, and what would happen if someone with a less-perfectly honed sense of justice were to break as many rules (and noses) as Shaft does.

  • How does the movie explore institutional racism? How is this different from the outright racism of Walter Wade Jr.? 

  • What would be the challenges in rebooting a classic movie? 

Movie details

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