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Shaft Blu-ray

United States
Warner Bros. | 2000 | 99 min | Rated R | Aug 13, 2013

Shaft (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (18.91 Mbps)
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0

English SDH, French, Spanish

25GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Region free

List price: $19.98, Price history

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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 4.0 of 54.0
Audio 4.5 of 54.5
Extras 3.0 of 53.0
Based on 1 user review

Movie appeal 



Shaft Blu-ray delivers great video and superb audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.

For more about Shaft and the Shaft Blu-ray release, see Shaft Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Director: John Singleton
Writers: Shane Salerno, John Singleton, Richard Price (I)
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams (V), Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Busta Rhymes, Dan Hedaya

» See full cast & crew

Shaft Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

Shaft was one of the last features shot by Donald E. Thorin before his retirement, and it combined many elements from Thorin's varied resume, including action (e.g., Tango & Cash), film noir (Against All Odds) and, perhaps most importantly, a feel for musical rhythms (Purple Rain). The production shot in practical locations all over New York City and New Jersey, and Thorin had the challenge of lighting all of them, sometimes for day, sometimes for night.

The image on Paramount/Warner's 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray looks almost as if it was taken from a digital intermediate, even though Shaft was completed photochemically. In transferring the film for Blu-ray, Paramount (which does the transfers for its Warner-released Blu-ray product) seems to have decided to approach Shaft as if it were a new release, giving it the kind of digital polish and shine that is typical of films released today. This isn't necessarily the wrong approach for Shaft, which Singleton wanted to look as contemporary and "cool" as possible and which was shot in New York at the height of its glittery Nineties prosperity. But the Shaft on this Blu-ray has a virtually grainless surface that was almost impossible to obtain in 2000, and in that sense it doesn't look quite like the original. The difference is minute and will probably be lost on most viewers, but it struck me enough to be worth pointing out.

The DI-style processing, however, has not come at the expense of image detail, which is excellent. (It helps that the source material appears to be in pristine condition.) The image is equally good at capturing the stubble on the various police officers, the shine of Shaft's various leather coats and the stains on Peoples Hernandez's "Egyptian cotton" threads when Shaft makes him spill his noodles down the front of his shirt. The grit and grime of Washington Heights streets are just as visible as the rich decor of the Lenox Lounge, where Shaft celebrates (prematurely as it turns out) his apprehension of Walter Wade, Jr. The film's varied color palette has been accurately reproduced, so that we get everything from the the rich luster of New York night spots, to the sun-bleached hues of the craft in the boatyard near Diane Palmieri's house to the dreary institutional tones of the lock-up where Peoples and Wade first meet. The blacks, of course, are solid and well-rendered. Shaft's coats demand no less.

There's minor sharpening in some scenes. (I sometimes see it in the theater on DI-finished films as well.) Otherwise, artifacts did not appear, and I was surprised to discover an average bitrate of 18.91 Mbps, which seemed unusually low for a film with this much action. Somehow, though, they got away with it.

Shaft Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.5 of 5

From the moment Isaac Hayes's signature theme kicks in, you know that (a) this is Shaft, and (b) this is a new film. Isaac Hayes revisited, reworked and remixed his Oscar-winning song with obvious care and attention to preserve what made it effective in the first place. But the 1971 mix was designed for radio play, with all the sounds folded into a single layer. For 2000, Hayes used all the resources of the discrete multi-track format to separate out his vocals, the chorus and the various instruments so that they could heard with a distinctness and clarity that wasn't possible outside a recording studio in 1971. In a properly calibrated system, the individual elements of Hayes's mix can be heard individually as they come from left, right and center and meet in the airy center of the listening space to create the essence of Shaft. On the Blu-ray's superb DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, the effect is even more pronounced than it was in the theater.

The main musical score was composed by David Arnold, who has generally been faithful to the spirit of Hayes's theme and the style of his score for the 1971 film. Bass extension is powerful, so that either a subwoofer or full-range main speakers are essential. Dialogue is clearly rendered, which is critical given some of the vocal curlicues that Jeffrey Wright puts on his dialogue as Peoples Hernandez and the muttered curses by Busta Rhymes as Shaft's unwilling helper, Rasaan. Gunshots, blows with fists and other objects, and various vehicle collisions register with solid impact. Discrete rear effects aren't a major factor in the sound mix, but you're always aware of the city surrounding you.

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Shaft Blu-ray, News and Updates

Shaft (2000) Blu-ray - April 16, 2013

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of Shaft (2000), director John Singleton's action-packed sequel to the original 1971 cult classic of the same name. The film stars Samuel L. Jackson, Christian Bale, Jeffrey Wright, Toni Collette, ...

Shaft Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

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