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Shaft in Africa (1973)

Cast: Richard Roundtree, Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, more...
Director: John Guillermin, John Guillermin
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Action, Blaxploitation
Running Time: 112 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

In the third and last in the original Shaft (1971) series of action-packed "blaxploitation" pictures, private eye John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) travels to the "motherland," where he breaks up a modern slavery ring. Shaft is hired by a diplomat, Emir Ramila (Cy Grant), to infiltrate the criminal empire of the evil Vincent Amafi (Frank Finlay), who is kidnapping poor Africans and shipping them to Europe as slave laborers. Amafi murdered Ramila's son when he attempted to expose the illegal operation, and Ramila, now aware that his investigation of Amafi has been compromised, needs an unfamiliar to face to help bring the ring leader down. After undergoing some training at the hands of a comely tutor so that he'll be able to pass muster as an African, Shaft travels to Ethiopia and allows himself to be shanghaied by Amafi's men. However, the high-ranking Wassa (Debebe Eshetu) is the traitor in Ramila's ranks, and he has betrayed Shaft. As the tough private eye attempts to free the slaves being held captive in a former Nazi prison below a French chateau and bed any beautiful women who crosses his path, he must also dodge a series of assassination attempts by Ramila's men. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

"Now, I'm not James Bond. Simply Sam Spade." by Lastcrackerjack May 9, 2006 - 6:31 PM PDT
Unlike "Dirty Harry" and most action franchises, the "Shaft" films would actually improve as the series went on. This installment was directed by John Guillermin, who displays his panache filling a Panavision frame with scenic action much the same way he would next in "The Towering Inferno".

With a larger budget than either of the previous films, not only is the action sharper, but the location scouts secure some breathtaking African scenery, which the filmmakers wisely take the time to savor by having Shaft walk through Ethiopia for several sequences.

The decision to take Shaft off the streets of Harlem and send him out of his element brings a terrific energy that was missing from all but the first ten minutes of the original film. Shaft is not allowed to carry a gun when he starts his journey here, relying only on his mastery of stick fighting for protection, leading to a well choreographed duel in the middle of the film.

Stirling Silliphant wrote the screenplay and brought some much needed wit, one-liners and double entendres to the script without letting the franchise descend into a satire of itself. The women of the movie - Vonetta McGee and Neda Arneric - actually have some interesting business here that is not limited to marveling at Shaft's equipment.

Perhaps the most vital element of the "Shaft" movies is the music. Even without Isaac Hayes scoring either of the sequels, the soundtrack stayed consistently bad ass. Johnny Pate composed the music here, and The Four Tops performed a sensational title tune, "Are You Man Enough". The result is an international flavored action film that is way, way better than most of the 007 movies of the decade.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.78)
9 Votes
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Afro-picks and Bell Bottoms
Movies from the Black Exlplotiation Era of the 70's

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