Shaft ★★★ Shaft Returns 2000 (R)
Singleton's updated the 1971 blaxploitation flick with Jackson starring as the nephew of the coolest private dick ever (Roundtree has a cameo in his original role). But Jackson can more than hold his own in the cool department as he tracks down richkid murderer Walter Wade Jr. (Bale), who's after the only witness to his crime, a scared waitress (Collette). Wade hires a Latino drug dealer (Wright, in a standout performance almost equal to Jackson's) and a couple of bad cops to find the girl and kill Shaft, setting off much gunfire and snappy dialoque. Jackson has charisma to burn, but other characters, as well as potentially interesting plot points, get short shrift. This is most likely a result of Wright's part being (deservedly) beefed up from the original screenplay (about which Singleton and Jackson were said to be not entirely happy). 98m/C VHS, DVD . Samuel L. Jackson, Christian Bale, Vanessa L(ynne) Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Philip Bosco, Toni Collette, Angela Pietropinto, Dan Hedaya, Jo sef Sommer, Richard Roundtree, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lynne Thigpen, Pat Hingle, Busta Rhymes, Mekhi Phifer, Zach Grenier, Catherine Kellner, Isaac Hayes, Lee Tergesen, Gloria Reuben, Gordon Parks, Daniel von Bargen; D: John Singleton; W: Richard Price; C: Stuart Dryburgh; M: Isaac Hayes, David Arnold.