Thursday, June 6, 2013

Exploitation Week: Shaft

Welcome back babies to Day 4 of Exploitation Week and I thought we could to with a little mystery, some blackmail and maybe even a dead lead here and there.  For that we will need a suave, cagey mutha that don’t speak no jive but straight up.  So grab your flair bell bottoms, get those platform shoes ready and do that funky chicken.  This is Shaft.  You dig?
Shaft's customer service is second to none!

John Shaft:  I got to feeling like a spoiler and that’s no way to feel.

In New York City, you need some muscle, maybe someone to send a warning or help you out of a tight squeeze, then John Shaft (Richard Roundtree of Embassy, Shaft’s Big Score!, Roots, Day of the Assassin, Maniac Cop, Se7en and Rescue 77) is the man you see.  That Shaft is a bad mother…um shutting my mouth.   

Shaft is approached by a couple of thugs of a crime boss and one didn’t handle his exit well.  A 5 story fall that is.  With the cops having to investigate into what was clearly self-defense some of his former associates on the police force are questioning if he took the law in his own hands.  Lieutenant Androzzi (Charles Cioffi of Klute, The Thief Who Came to Dinner, Assignment Vienna, Tail Gunner Joe and The Other Side of Midnight) is pulling all the strings he can to keep Shaft from losing his license as a P.I. but at the same time needs answers.  He gives Shaft some operating room and to see what is what. 

No dirty white boy, I do NOT want candy!

 Later on he encounters the same thug and his boss Bumpy (Moses Gunn of Wild Rovers, Shaft’s Big Score!, The Cowboys, Rollerball, Good Times and Vega$) at his office with a dire situation.  Bumpy’s daughter has been kidnapped and he needs Shaft to find who took her.  Shaft hits the streets, rolls a few informants and beats down some doors to find the girl.  Chats up with a old buddy of his that went Black Militant Ben Buford (Christopher St. John of The Love of Ivy, Top of the Heap, The Retrievers and The Atlanta Child Murders) only to find out that an Italian syndicate is in town and moving in on Bumpy’s territory.  An armored assault is the call for the night but they need plenty of men and guns for this gig.

Now I just have a few comments to add about the film overall.  Shot in 35 mm Spherical, this is one of MGM’s little gems that got more love from audiences of all color because the performances were solid, the writing was fair and the flow of the story did not drag at all.   It plays out at a good steady pace and does not let up for nothing or nobody!  You may have noticed I am a fan.  

What? You're not girl scouts and that means no cookies! Hustlers!!!

Yes fellas, there is some nudity in case the action and story wasn't enough.   This film is hailed as not only one of the best exploitation films but also one of the best films of the 70’s because it does not feel forced and an amazing soundtrack by none other than Isaac Hayes!!!  So enjoy this piece of funk and get your groovin’ on babies.  Shaft is one of the more memorable films of this era and deserves its hails.

Tomorrow is my 200th Blog people so keep sending me suggestions on my Facebook page or on the blog itself.  Comments, questions and critiques are all welcome!!!  Later babies!!