In "Shaft," JJ. aka John Shaft Jr. (Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend's untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide. Absent throughout JJ's youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem's heroin-infested underbelly. And while JJ's own FBI analyst's badge may clash with his dad's trademark leather duster, there's no denying family. Besides, Shaft's got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that's professional and personal. (Gary Reber)
Special features include four featurettes: "Can Ya Dig It? The Making Of Shaft" (HD 10:36), "A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy—Part One: A Bad Mother Born" (HD 15:41), "Part Two: No Questions Asked" (HD 14:34) "and Part Three: A Legend Of His Time" (HD 13:57); six deleted scenes (HD 02:54); a gag reel (HD 04:53; upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital code.
The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed digitally in anamorphic Hawk Scope using the Arri Alexa XT Plus camera system and sourced from a 2K master Digital Intermediate format. Color fidelity is excellent with a stylized, saturated appearance. Colors pop throughout with strong primaries and excellent hue distinctions. Fleshtones are perfectly natural. Contrast is superb with deep, distinctive black levels and revealing shadow delineation. Bright highlights and lighting effects make for vibrant imagery. Resolution is also superb, with facial features finely detailed such as skin pores, hair, facial hair and complexions. Object texture is also finely detailed and enhances the environmental realism. This is a vividly and richly colorful picture that is engaging throughout. (Gary Reber)
The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD.7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding throughout, with exaggerated gunfire and sound effects to weight the action. Atmospherics are realistic and enhances the New York City sounds that define the soundscapes. The music score is pure "Shaft" with the addition of some strong rap. The music occupies a wide and deep soundstage that extends to the four surrounds, often with directionalized localization of instruments. Dialogue is impactful, though, a bit forward sounding. Surround envelopment is engaging and at times aggressively directionalized.
The Immersive Sound element consists of the extension of the music score to the front height channels, which at times is more effective than at other times, only a subtle effect. Sound effects include a subway train passing by, gunfire, rumblings, some street sounds, ceiling debris crashing to the floor, a police siren, the swishing sound of body blows in fight, breaking glass, a grand piano collapsing and minor other effects. Far more could have been crafted for the height layer to fully engage the spherical surround element.
This is a vibrant holosonic® soundtrack that underscores the excitement and shootouts where John Shaft is involved. (Gary Reber)