Probably had Shaft not won an Oscar for its theme as the Best Original Song it would be barely remembered as one of the first of the black exploitation films that seem to explode out of Hollywood. The late Sixties after the Civil Rights Revolution, Hollywood discovered that black people were a neglected audience, that A. was not happy with how it was previously portrayed and B. would pay to see more than just films that starred Sidney Poitier.It's an average action/adventure film when you come right down to it, but that is not to say that star Richard Roundtree didn't create an interesting character. John Shaft is a private detective who even police lieutenant Charles Cioffi knows to give a free hand to as he's into sources of information the cops don't have access to.Something that Harlem drug kingpin Moses Gunn is also aware of when he hires Shaft to locate his kidnapped daughter. Gunn isn't exactly telling Shaft the whole truth about the circumstances. But Shaft catches on quickly enough that this is all part of a three party struggle for the control of Harlem between Italian gangsters, black militants and Gunn's own crew.There's a nice explosive climax in the end as the daughter's fate is in Shaft's hands. Enough action to satisfy any junkie.And of course there's Isaac Hayes's score with the theme and it's a type of song that never got the Academy recognition before. I don't one like that has since. But in terms of the film itself, the score perfectly captures the mood.Can you dig it.
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