Shaft is still the same “bad mother” he was 50 years ago—this time with a new style that still honors his trademark ensembles.
Much has changed since the first installment of the Shaft movie franchise debuted in 1971. The original, starring Richard Roundtree, became renowned for its novelty as a blaxploitation film, portraying private detective John Shaft as the personification of black masculinity and power. After a few sequels and a short-lived CBS television series, Shaft found fresh energy in the 2000 film with Samuel L. Jackson as Shaft’s nephew, John Shaft II.
The franchise’s upcoming fifth film, opening on June 14, pays homage to its predecessors while modernizing the series’ tone and look. Three generations of Shaft men band together to investigate the death of John Shaft Jr.’s best friend. Departing from the blaxploitation characteristics of the originals, this latest Shaft film straddles the line between crime thriller and comedy. Even the clothing worn by all three Shaft men in the new film is emblematic of the series’ extensive evolution. From Shaft’s signature leather trench coat to his headwear, the newest movie’s stylistic choices indicate both nostalgic significance and modern influences.