It’s easy these days to watch a movie like Shaft, and think of it no more than you typical Blaxploitation, crime fighting-action flick. However, back when this came out in 1971, it was a revolutionary experience, for nothing like it had been done before. It was one of the first movies to pave the way for Blaxploitation films, and because of that reaches and deserves a high level of critical analysis. Shaft, a smooth talking, sensual, smart detective roams the street of New York, with his brothers on the street to assist his journey. When a Harlem Gangster hires Shaft to find his kidnapped daughter, he finds himself, and a few other friends, in a complex search and rescue mission. One of the, often forgotten about, qualities that greatly helps Shaft along his journey, is his ability to be smooth. During the bar scene where Shaft swiftly takes over for the bartender, he offers the two gangsters a drink, in hope he can keep them there long enough to call officers in an arrest them. Without acting suspicious at all, he holds a conversation with the men, and even has a few laughs with them. He drops a few smooth lines, such as “ I hate to drink alone” as he’s pouring them a shot, not even giving them time to say “no thanks”. All while being adored by this beautiful woman in the corner admiring his charm. Shaft’s charm is one of the qualities that really separates him, even nowadays, from your standard kick ass crime fighting detective. He has the skills to fight crime, but the smoothness to fool people. This combination allows Shaft to dominate whatever task he is put up to, all the while looking sexy while doing so!
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