Shaft (2019)

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Shaft (2019) Movie Poster Image
Violent action sequel has thin characters, iffy messages.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Iffy messages about how a man should act "like a man" -- i.e., be tough, shoot guns, objectify women, never apologize (it doesn't help that women are shown falling for men who act like that). Older Shaft does apologize in one scene, but it's eventually negated by finale that celebrates strutting, swaggering. Gender-fluid men and any man who's not a fully red-blooded heterosexual are ridiculed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters break rules and kill with no consequences. Women are objectified, viewed as sexual objects. Fathers leave their families, and it's suggested that that's OK because it helps the kids become "tough."


Violence is glamorized, with tons of guns and shooting; lots of death, no consequences. Blood spurts. Martial arts fighting. Punching. Bullying. Mugging. Characters crash into things. Characters break other characters' fingers. Woman kidnapped. A man falls from a height, crashing on top of parked car.


Topless female (one breast exposed). Very strong, frequent sexual innuendo and sex talk. Explicit references to oral sex. Lots of cleavage. A boy gets a box of condoms for Christmas. Box of "adult" magazines shown (suggestive, but no nudity). A woman appears to be a prostitute, soliciting sex acts for money. Women are objectified.


Constant foul language includes uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," the "N" word, "s--t," "p---y," "t-ts," "a--hole," "bitch," "ass," "goddamn," "damn," "crap," "d--k," "nuts." Middle-finger gesture.


Apple iPhone used frequently. Nike shoes seen. Panera Bread and Facebook.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bad guys are drug dealers, and drugs are part of the plot. Drug den and various drug-related paraphernalia shown. Characters snort coke. Character said to have died of a drug overdose. Main character becomes extremely drunk, throws up, passes out. Brief mention of alcoholism. Social drinking in bars. Characters drink at home. Supporting characters/extras smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shaft is the sequel to Shaft (2000) and the fifth movie in a series that began with Shaft (1971). This installment resorts to dumb comedy and has lots of sloppy, glamorized violence with no consequences. Plus, its message is all about defining "being a man" as acting tough and objectifying women. Gender-fluid men and any man who's not a fully red-blooded heterosexual are ridiculed. Expect to see tons of guns and shooting, blood spurts, fighting, and more. There's also frequent, graphic sexual innuendo, sex talk, and other adult material. One woman is shown partially topless, and others are viewed as sex objects. Language is constant, with countless uses of "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," the "N" word, "t-ts," and more. The villains are drug dealers, and drugs are part of the plot; drug use and paraphernalia are shown. A main character gets drunk, throws up, and passes out; other drinking is shown, and minor characters smoke. Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Roundtree, and Jessie T. Usher co-star.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2-year-old Written byAnounymous June 21, 2019
Adult Written byMagzzyU May 13, 2021
Teen, 17 years old Written byNathan750 November 28, 2019

Very funny, Lot's of shooting and nonstop language

There's is much of what i can say about this film it's hilarious, iffy, and wild shoot out fights.
Teen, 13 years old Written byLeonvol January 25, 2021

Shaft is back

This movie is incredibly good I really really like it it is funny as hell teens will laugh soo much when they watching this movie

What's the story?

In SHAFT, a flashback to 1989 reveals that John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) once had a wife, Maya (Regina Hall), and an infant son. In order to keep them safe from a dangerous drug lord, he needed to remove himself from their lives. Years later, that son, J.J. (Jessie T. Usher), has grown up to become an FBI data analyst. When J.J.'s best friend turns up dead, J.J. suspects foul play and contacts his father for help. The trail leads right back to that same drug lord, Gordito (Isaach De Bankolé) -- but just when J.J. finds proof, the bad guys kidnap Sasha (Alexandra Shipp), the woman he loves. Before Shaft and son head into the final showdown, they decide to enlist a little help from the original (Richard Roundtree). Can three generations of Shafts finally put an end to the trouble?

Is it any good?

The banter between cool-cat father and nerdy, uptight son is somewhat funny, but lazy writing and wrongheaded stereotyping quickly send this sequel down the shaft. The fifth film in the Shaft series -- and the third to use the title Shaft (why couldn't the filmmakers have chosen a new one?) -- starts off with an interesting-enough idea: that John Shaft's son would turn out to be a sensitive, computer-literate softie, rather than a superbad, street-smart tough guy. But the filmmakers eventually turn that idea into a dumb comedy, with all the usual uptight vs. laid-back clashes. Only Jackson's effortlessly charismatic line readings make some of these encounters vaguely amusing.

Ultimately, the filmmakers seem to care more about their creaky, tired, unfailingly predictable plot mechanics -- from the early murder to the inevitable betrayal and kidnapping scenes (not to mention sluggish, sloppy action scenes) -- than their characters. The Shafts become thin, cartoonish versions of what began as a gritty outsider antihero (in the original 1971 Shaft). Perhaps most galling is the movie's assertion that men ought to be "real men" -- i.e., tough and willing to fight/shoot guns, treat women as objects, and never apologize. What finally happens in Shaft (2019) is that the characters never really seem affected at all by violence, death, or even love; thus, they never connect, and they never come alive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Shaft's violence. How strong is it? Does it seem thrilling or shocking? What are the consequences? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How is sex depicted? How are women treated, viewed, and talked about? What about those who are gender-fluid? What message does that treatment send?

  • How are drugs depicted? Are they glamorized, or are they shown to be dangerous? What about alcohol?

  • What does it mean for a man to be "manly" or "strong"? Does the movie's view of this aspect seem positive or affirming?

  • What's the appeal of the Shaft character? How does this movie compare with the others in the series?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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