Shaft (2000) - Synopsis
Crooked cops on the take...small-time drug lords...sleazy informers and sadistic rich kids ready to kill -for police detective John Shaft, it's just another night in the underbelly of New York City, another shift facing down cops and criminals who want him dead and a legal system that thrives on money, not justice.
With Samuel L Jackson in the starring role and John Singleton directing, "Shaft" is a new approach to one of the great film icons of the 1970s. He's tough, he's smart, he's cool - just what you'd expect from a man whose uncle and mentor is John Shaft, who, now as then, is played by Richard Roundtree.
Samuel L Jackson stars in "Shaft," a Paramount Pictures presentation of a Scott Rudin /New Deal production. John Singleton directs the film, which also stars Vanessa l. Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Busta Rhymes, Dan Hedaya with Toni Collette and Richard Roundtree. Scott Rudin and John Singleton are the producers. The story is by John Singleton & Shane Salerno, and the screenplay is by Richard Price and John Singleton & Shane Salerno based on the novel "Shaft" by Ernest Tidyman and based on the motion picture "Shaft" from the Turner Entertainment Co. Library. The executive producers are Adam Schroeder, Paul Hall and Steve Nicolaides, and the co-producer is Eric Steel. The music is by David Arnold and Isaac Hayes. Paramount Pictures is part of the entertainment operations of Viacom Inc.
When spoiled college kid Walter Wade (Christian Bale) kills a young black student, John Shaft (Jackson) makes the arrest. Walter skips bail and flees the country, and after two years of waiting, Shaft hauls him back into custody as Walter secretly returns to the States. But when Walter's wealthy father posts bail once again, Walter is back out on the streets and looking to put Shaft in a body bag. So are two of Shaft's corrupt colleagues, Jack Roselli and Jimmy Grovitch (Dan Hedaya and Ruben Santiago-Hudson), as welt as a Dominican drug lord, Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright) who wants revenge on Shaft for humiliating him in the neighborhood he rules.
For backup, Shaft has only his two closest pals: Carmen (Vanessa l. Williams), a colleague on the police force; and his streetwise confidant, Rasaan (Busta Rhymes). Meanwhile, Shaft has to track down the one murder witness, Diane Palmieri (Toni Collette) who can put all of his enemies away for good even as the toughest killers in the city close in on him.
The original "Shaft," directed by Gordon Parks and released in 1971, was a ground-breaking sensation and marked the birth of an entirely new genre: audiences had never seen an African-American hero as tough, as sexual or as street-smart as John Shaft.