Monday, August 27, 2007


In my efforts to get as thorough a collection of movies as I possibly can, I’ve spent a good chunk of change this past summer on trying to get into blaxploitation films, as they were one of the last genres I hadn’t really made a dent into. I’ve met with some level of success in this venture, enjoying the bulk of the ones I’ve gotten, but I guess any proper blaxploitation collection wouldn’t be complete without a copy of Shaft, the single biggest, most famous one of all.

So how does it stack up? Well, I gotta say, for the biggest blaxploitation film of all time, a genre known for its wild excesses, this movie is pretty vanilla. It’s a pretty serious, straightforward detective story, with little time for anything really edgy, beyond the title character’s constant race baiting. The plot, tracking down the kidnapped daughter of a local gang boss, is pretty standard noir fare, and indeed this film plays a lot more like an old noir than it does its flashier 70s brethren. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty average affair all the way through. It’s pleasant enough, don’t get me wrong, and if you happen to be flipping through channels and it’s on, you could do a lot worse with your time.

I suppose the problem lies in my unwarranted high expectations, thinking that, in a genre known for its wildness, I was expecting the single most prominent film in that genre to be the most wild of them all, rather than the most sedate. I guess modern day audiences support it because it doesn’t frighten them as much as, say, Slaughter or Coffy would, I dunno. Has anyone else been disappointed like this recently?

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