Shaft (2000)

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Released 5-Oct-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Cast & Crew Interviews
Featurette-Making Of-Shaft: Still The Man
Music Video-Theme From Shaft-Isaac Hayes
Music Video-Bad Man-R. Kelly
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 95:14
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (48:50) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Singleton
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
Toni Collette
Christian Bale
Vanessa Williams
Richard Roundtree
Dan Hedaya
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music David Arnold
Isaac Hayes


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 Greek
English
French
Hebrew
Croatian
Portuguese
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Shaft (see the review here) was a seminal work - fthe irst of a new type of movie. It was also a fun movie to watch. I think Samuel L Jackson phrased the reaction well: "Why remake Shaft?". I suspect the motivation was simple: money! This is a time for nostalgic remakes. And the best ones are the ones which pay gentle homage to the original, but are different enough to be worth seeing. Perhaps the most successful so far is Charlie's Angels, but this one is not bad.

    This is not, strictly, a remake. The storyline is quite different, but the feel is similar. Shaft is one cool dangerous man. He takes s*** from no one, on either side of the law. And he accomplishes his ends his way, whether it is completely legal, or not. But he has his own morals, and he remains true to them throughout.

    But there some serious differences. In the original, Shaft is lady-killer, sleeping with at least three different women in the course of the movie. In this movie, one lady is hinted at, but that's all. In the original, Shaft doesn't do a lot of shooting. In this one, he gets through a considerable quantity of ammunition (and he's a remarkably good shot - far better than his opposition). And he's angrier and more brutal - the original Shaft was cooler, more laid-back. The other really noticeable difference is the coarse language - one word, and one phrase, get extensive use, as if the script writers lacked imagination.

    You probably saw the trailer, and remember the badge-throwing moment - it is cute, but it must have cost a mint, because they as much use out of it that they can. It is in the movie, in the trailer, and in all of the extras bar one.

    I did like the homages to the original. Shaft wears a variety of black leather jackets, all very stylish (some of them Armani!). The original theme song, with the original artist (Isaac Hayes) is heard, under both the opening and closing credits. And the original Shaft (Richard Roundtree) appears - he is John Shaft, too, this Shaft's uncle. Perhaps the coolest homage is the least visible: the director of the original movie appears in a cameo (the "making of" points him out). 

    In case you were wondering, nope, I'm not going to summarise the plot. Oh, there is a plot, and it's coherent. It is not as good as the original, but it'll do. My suggestion is that you get the original movie first. If you enjoyed the original, you will probably enjoy this one, too.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. That is the theatrical aspect ratio.

    The image is beautifully clear, with excellent shadow detail and no low level noise.

    Colour is vivid, deep, and well-saturated, with no hint of bleed or oversaturation.

    There are no film artefacts. There are no MPEG artefacts, save for a tiny touch of shimmer in one background. There are hints of aliasing, but it is rare. There is a little bit of moire on a flyscreen door, but I mention it mainly to point out that there's so little to remark upon.

    The subtitles in English are a little larger than usual, which makes them even easier to read. They are clear and well-timed, but they do alter the words a little in a few places to keep them short.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted as RSDL. The layer change is at 48:50; it is quite noticeable, even though it is placed at the end of a scene as it is a little jarring.



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

Audio

    There are two soundtracks, in English and French. Both are Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 kbps.

    Dialogue is generally clear, although the Dominican accent affected by Jeffrey Wright is difficult to make out. There's a moment of slightly sloppy ADR at 70:50, but I place that fault in the source material. The audio sync is otherwise spot on.

    The score is inspired by Isaac Hayes' Oscar-winning score for the original movie. Although Isaac Hayes performs the theme, the remainder of the score is credited to David Arnold. It sounds like an updated version of the original, with some nice extra parts, and I'm sure that's exactly what was intended, so I accord it a success.

    There is no noticeable directional sound, but the surrounds are used more to deepen the soundstage - they are in operation most of the time, supporting the fronts. The subwoofer extends the low octave of the soundtrack. This is achieved seamlessly, and without drawing attention to the sub, or the surrounds. Nice subtle work.



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

Extras

Menu

    The main menu is backed by music from the score. There's a nice animation leading into it, and animation running through it. This is one of the better menus I've seen recently. It looks nice without detracting from the simple functionality of the menu itself.

Theatrical Trailer (2:11)

    Not 16x9 enhanced. It's a touch grainy, but quite reasonable.

Cast/Crew Interviews (13:20)

    This is a single segment, editing together interviews with several members of the cast, plus the director. It's worth seeing this to note Toni Collette's obvious Australian accent, Christian Bale's accent, and Jeffrey Wright's distinctly educated voice - each one sounds quite different in the movie.

Making Of: Shaft: Still the Man (16:19)

    This is a classic "making of", with the usual sorts of comments in it. There's some overlap between this and the interviews - I'd guess they had a bit too much material for the "making of" (over 30 minutes and they have to pay the actors to participate), so they split some of it off to making the interviews.

Music Video: Theme from Shaft (2:58)

    Isaac Hayes performing the theme - not a bad music video, decorated with lots of young women.

Music Video: Bad Man (4:57)

    Performed by R Kelly, I suspect this was their back-up theme song, in case they couldn't get the rights to the original. It plays in the background in the movie when they're hiding out in Busta's apartment, and plays behind the closing credits after the audience has left the cinema. 

R4 vs R1

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

    There are few differences between the Region 4 and Region 1 discs. The Region 4 disc has subtitles in 6 languages; the Region 1 has only 1. The Region 4 disc is in PAL; the Region 1 is NTSC. That's the sum total of the differences. Oh, and the Region1 is in an opaque case, while the Region 4 is transparent. Other than that, the discs are pretty much identical, even to the artwork.

    Direct comparison of the two discs shows very similar, high quality, transfers. The choice is a toss-up, but I lean towards the PAL transfer.

Summary

    A simple action film, given an excellent transfer onto DVD.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are reasonable. This is not the sort of film that needs an audio commentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, October 20, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. 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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