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SHAFT IN AFRICA

year: 1973 cast: Richard Roundtree rating: ***1/2
What separates SHAFT IN AFRICA to the iconic original is adventure. The title character, whose reputation precedes him everyplace he goes, is forced undercover to investigate a modern slave trade in Africa.

Richard Roundtree plays the part with more dry humor and boundless energy; not burdened with introductory dialog or urban melodrama, this third sequel, directed by John Guillermin, journeys from one situation to the next with style and suspense.

While the first film is a prototype of Blaxploitation, this embodies the genre’s template with tongue-in-cheek finesse: from the passionate white woman yearning for that particular “taboo” to an abundance of classic one liners of and about our hero's moniker.

Roundtree always seemed too lean and classy for the role of a stud women worship and men fear, displays the usual ever-cool aura making him the one, and still the only, SHAFT. Sure this movie gets silly and some parts drag – like whenever the villains discuss their complicated agenda – but we always return to Shaft getting into, and then out of, those perilous dilemmas whether on land or at sea.

So while this final film might not have the reputation of the one-and-only, it goes more places and has a lot more fun i.e. doesn’t take itself too seriously.
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