Shaft in Africa (1973)

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Released 13-Jun-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 107:49
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Guillermin
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Richard Roundtree
Vonetta McGee
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Johnny Pate


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Portuguese
German
Romanian
Bulgarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I have previously reviewed Shaft and its sequel, Shaft's Big Score. Shaft In Africa is the second sequel in the series. It looks like they thought they'd mined out the New York scene, so they sent Shaft overseas.

    In the opening scene, we see someone running from the bad guys, and being killed. We cut to Shaft returning home and dodging a large man, only to have the man smash through the door to his apartment and attack him. This is the unusual way in which an Emir chooses to enlist Shaft for a detective assignment. The Emir wants Shaft to go undercover in Northern Africa to bust open a ring of people smugglers. The smugglers con African men into signing up for ultra-low wages, then smuggle them into France to do heavy and menial labour. Anyone causing trouble is killed, including the Emir's son - he was the previous person to try infiltration.

    Clearly, by now the budget had grown substantially. This film was shot on location in Ethiopia, as well as New York, but the original director was gone, as was Isaac Hayes. This was the last Shaft film made. That's not to say that it is bad - it isn't. I'm glad they didn't try to make another, though.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie was made in 1973, so it is 28 years old. The film is in good condition.

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. Just like the other two Shaft DVDs, there is a 1.33:1 version on the other side of the DVD. Just like the other two Shaft DVDs, it is mislabelled - it is a 1.33:1 Pan & Scan transfer, not 2.35:1. The 1.33:1 transfer of this film has considerably more contrast than the widescreen version. Way too much, in my opinion, which makes it look quite harsh. I'm glad they made that mistake on the 1.33:1 side and not on the 2.35:1 16x9 enhanced side.

    The image is a little soft, but I attribute that mostly to fine film grain - I would not expect a movie of this age to show the incredible level of detail that can be achieved today. Shadow detail is quite good, and there is little or no low-level noise.

    Colours are a little muted, probably because of the film stock used.

    There are a few film artefacts, but they are small and not bothersome. There are no MPEG artefacts, and aliasing is not common.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three soundtracks on this DVD; English, Italian, and French, all in Dolby Digital 1.0. I listened to the English soundtrack.

    The dialogue is clear and readily understood. There are some lines in an African language which are not subtitled, but we don't need to know what is being said - it is not important to the plot.

    The music, by Johnny Pate, is appropriate, and a little unusual - an interesting mixture of percussion (a hint of Africa?) and brass (echoing early Shaft music?).

    The surrounds and subwoofer are given nothing to do by a straight mono soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, with music running in the background.

Cast and Crew

    A single page listing the stars and some of the crew.

Trailer (2:52)

    The trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement and mono sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 disc misses out on:     The Region 1 disc misses out on:     I'd recommend the Region 4 because it is PAL rather than NTSC, and because it is in a Transparent Amaray case instead of a Snapper.

Summary

    Shaft In Africa is an OK movie, with a decent transfer.

    The video quality is quite good.

    The audio quality is good, for a mono track.

    The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, June 20, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-737, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics matte white screen with a gain of 1.0 (280cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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