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Shaft In Africa (1973)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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5.0
 / 10
3 votes
Movie Connections:
Shaft
> Shaft (1971)
> Shaft's Big Score! (1972)
> Shaft In Africa (1973)
> Shaft (2000)
Genres:
Action, Action Thriller, Blaxploitation
Director:
John Guillermin John Guillermin
Starring:
Richard Roundtree Richard Roundtree
Frank Finlay Frank Finlay
Vonetta McGee Vonetta McGee
Neda Arneric Neda Arneric
Debebe Eshetu Debebe Eshetu
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Review by Chad
Added: February 24, 2007
Shaft is back for another adventure, and this time, the brother man is heading to the motherland in order to put an end to an illegal slave-trade operation. I've yet to see the previous entry in the series so I can't say whether or not that one favorably compares to the original (thanks for the cracked discs, Netflix!), but I can safely say that this one does.

So then, as the title would imply, John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) winds up in Africa to track down the ringleaders of a slave-trade organization. To do this, he must pose as a slave himself, and teaching him the local African language and tribal customs is Aleme (Vonetta McGee), the super-fine daughter of the man who hired him. Anyone who knows Shaft should have an idea that it doesn't take long before they wind up as bed-partners, but at the end of the day, it's all business with our hero as he travels across both Africa and Europe in search of the dastardly Amafi (Frank Finlay) in an effort to bring him to justice... or at least, Shaft's version of justice.

The first Shaft movie was a classic, and it followed a pretty simple plot outline: Shaft is a bad-ass detective from the ghetto who won't hesitate to put the bad guys in body-bags, and he also loves his ladies. This one is much the same, but this time around, he employs a number of James Bond-like gadgets to help him gather evidence along the way, with one such item being a camera built into his walking / fighting stick and another being a tape recorder built into a canteen. This gimmick is never over the top (he is Shaft after all, not Inspector Gadget), but there were just enough instances of it to keep things interesting. And yes, in an effort to better blend in with the African population, Shaft doesn't carry around a gun (although he does stumble upon one here and there later on in the film); instead, he wages war with a six-foot stick. This leads to a couple of great fight sequences, as the action was excellently choreographed - and as the man himself said, "a cat named Shaft ain't gonna be bad with a stick."

The original Shaft was responsible for the overwhelming success of the blaxploitation genre, and by the time this one rolled around two years later, the genre was at its peak. Numerous imitators littered the market, but regardless of that, the Shaft series stood out above the rest. This one is no different. The character of John Shaft alone is entertaining as hell to watch, and when you consider that there's plenty of action and love-making coupled with a script that actually works, it should go without saying that this and the other two films deserve their "classic" statuses.

For a two hour movie, this one simply breezes by thanks to the combination of great action sequences, an even better storyline, and of course, Richard Roundtree - the man who could easily be likened to as the original Samuel L. Jackson. The man knows how to be intimidating on screen, but he also finds time to slide in a few one-liners at all the right moments. Watching him in action is a treat, and the same thing can be said about this film. 8/10.
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