Shaft (2000 film)


Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Singleton
Produced by Mark Roybal
Scott Rudin
Eric Steel
Adam Schroeder
Screenplay by John Singleton
Shane Salerno
Richard Price
Story by John Singleton
Shane Salerno
Based on Shaft
by Ernest Tidyman
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
Vanessa L. Williams
Jeffrey Wright
Christian Bale
Richard Roundtree
Music by David Arnold
Cinematography Donald E. Thorin
Edited by John Bloom
Antonia von Drimmelen
Al Rodgers
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • June 16, 2000 (2000-06-16)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $46 million[1]
Box office $107.2 million[1]

Shaft is a 2000 American action-thriller film written and directed by John Singleton, and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Pat Hingle, Toni Collette, Busta Rhymes, Vanessa L. Williams, and Mekhi Phifer. This film is not a remake of the 1971 film of the same name, but rather a sequel, therefore it is the fourth and final installment of the original series. An actual reboot was announced in February 2015. Jackson's John Shaft character is the nephew of the original John Shaft. The film received mainly positive reviews and opened at the number one position at the box office when it debuted June 16, 2000.


NYPD Detective John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson) is called in to investigate the racially motivated murder of Trey Howard (Mekhi Phifer), committed by Walter Wade, Jr. (Christian Bale), the son of a wealthy real estate tycoon. Shaft briefly meets a potential eyewitness to the murder, Diane Palmieri (Toni Collette), but she disappears soon after and cannot be found for the trial. Wade is released on bail and flees to Switzerland.

Two years later, Wade returns and Shaft rearrests him for leaving the country. During his temporary incarceration at police headquarters, Wade meets Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright), a Dominican drug lord. Wade relinquishes his passport and is released on bail again; in frustration Shaft resigns from the police force, promising to bring Wade to justice on his own terms. Worried that Shaft might find the missing eyewitness, Wade hires Peoples to find and kill her first.

Shaft continues his search for Diane, enlisting the help of his friends Detective Carmen Vasquez (Vanessa L. Williams) and taxi driver Rasaan (Busta Rhymes). While visiting Diane's uncooperative mother, Shaft and Carmen realise they are being followed by officers Jack Roselli (Dan Hedaya) and Jimmy Groves (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), who have been paid by Peoples to follow Shaft and get to Diane. Shaft finally finds her, but before they can talk, they are attacked by Peoples's men. In the shootout, Shaft kills Peoples's younger brother. Shaft, Diane, Rasaan, and Diane's brother manage to escape to Rasaan's apartment, but they are followed by Roselli and Groves. While at the apartment, Diane confesses that she saw the entire murder, and kept silent in return for a payoff from Wade's father.

When Peoples arrives at the location, another shootout takes place. Roselli and Groves, outed as corrupt, are killed by Carmen. In a face-off between Shaft and Peoples, Peoples insinuates that he's been working for Wade, and Shaft kills him. Wade's trial finally arrives. Before it can begin, however, he is gunned down by Trey's mother, Carla Howard (Lynne Thigpen). In the police station, Shaft reiterates to Carmen that he prefers to be a private detective. A woman arrives, asking for Shaft to help her, claiming to have an abusive boyfriend. Shaft is initially reluctant, but when he sees her injury, he decides to help her anyway. Shaft, along with his uncle, John Shaft I (Richard Roundtree) and Rasaan, go together to confront the abusive boyfriend.


The director of the original Shaft, Gordon Parks, appears in a cameo at the Lenox Lounge party as "Mr. P," as a homage by director John Singleton to the original film.


Critical reception

Shaft received mixed to positive reviews, earning a 68% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes; the consensus states "With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons."[2] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film holds a 50/100, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[3]

Box office

The film opened at the box office at #1 with $21,714,757; by the end of its run, Shaft had grossed $70,334,258 in the domestic box office and $107,196,498 worldwide. Based on a $46 million budget, the film can be considered a success.[1]


In 2000, McFarlane Toys released a Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) action figure as part of their Movie Maniacs series three toy line. Accessories included are a handgun, sunglasses and a replica of the film's poster with a skulls and bones base.


A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on June 6, 2000 by LaFace Records. It peaked at #22 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.


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