"He's a bad mutha..." "Shut yo' mouth!" John Shaft
leaps onto the screen in this exclusive Warner Bros. Triple Feature
that includes the action blockbusters Shaft, Shaft's Big Score
, and Shaft in Africa
Shaft: "Hotter than Bond. Cooler than Bullitt," movie posters proclaimed. John Shaft was indeed a shut-your-mouth detective to reckon with, a fact emphasized from the film's start by Isaac Hayes' Academy Award-winning Best Original Song and Oscar-nominated score. Richard Roundtree plays the smart, tough, confident lead, a private investigator whose hunt for a kidnapped woman puts him in the middle of feuding syndicates. Gordan Parks directs from a screenplay that Ernest Tidyman (that same year's Oscar-winner for The French Connection) co-scripted from his own novel. John Shaft is an icon of change from an era of change. Today, Shaft still tells it like it is.
Shaft's Big Score: You can't say the mob wasn't warned about John Shaft. "He's a bad dude," a numbers racketeer cautions them. Now Shaft himself will deliver that message in a way New York City's wise guys understand. Richard Roundtree reunites with the director (Gordon Parks) and the screenwriter (Ernest Tidyman) of 1971's trendsetting Shaft for Shaft's Big Score, the second of Roundtree's three movie portrayals of the street-smart, leather-jacketed private investigator. This time, the blown-to-kingdom-come murder of a client plunges Shaft into a case that bounces him like a pinball between the 133rd Precinct and competing mobs. But the players are about to be played in this "rousing and entertaining thriller" (Newsweek).
Shaft in Africa: Go ahead. Slug, drug, kidnap and leave John Shaft buck-naked in a sweltering hellhole. It's still no deal. If you want to recruit this tough-minded Manhattan detective for an overseas assignment, you'd better use a language he understands. One that offers a fat up-front fee. And a drop-dead gorgeous accomplice. Richard Roundtree returns as the indomitable Shaft, who poses as a slave, unmasks the leaders of an Africa-to-Europe slavery cartel and, for good measure, mixes his business with amorous pleasure involving a beautiful princess (Vonetta McGee). The cool-fire impact of Roundtree's performances endures: the actor won the 1993 MTV Movie Award for Lifetime Achievement for his work in the three Shaft thrillers.