Cinema: Has Shaft Been Shafted?

The new Shaft, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is different from the old one, portrayed in the '70s by Richard Roundtree, in two significant ways. He is no longer a private eye--if you can believe it, he's now a New York City cop--and though plenty of foxy chicks sashay across his eyeline, his interest is mainly in chatting them up, not in bedding them down.

This is not necessarily an improvement, but it's not a total disaster either. Jackson is as fast with a contemptuous quip as he is with his fists; and if he is not quite the cool sexual...

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