SHAFT IN AFRICA (director: John Guillermon; screenwriters: Stirling Silliphant/Ernest Tidyman; cinematographer: Marcel Grignon; editor: Max Benedict; music: Johnny Pate; cast: Richard Roundtree (John Shaft), Frank Finlay (Vincent Amafi, Slave Dealer) Vonetta McGee (Aleme), Neda Arneric (Jazar), Debebe Eshetu (Wassa), Spiros Focas (Sassari), Jacques Herlin (Perreau), Adolfo Lastretti (Piro),Jacques Martin (French Inspector), Cy Grant (Emir Ramila), Glynn Edwards (Vanden), Jho Jhenkins(Ziba), Marne Maitland (Col. Gonder), Thomas Baptiste (Kopo), A.V. Falana (Son of the Emir), Frank McRae (Osiat); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Roger Lewis; MGM; 1973)
“Follows along the lines of a James Bond thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The third and last of the Shaft “blaxploitation” movie series, as it afterwards turns to a TV series, is a crude and slight but simplistically made entertaining adventure story that follows along the lines of a James Bond thriller. Brit director John Guillermon (“Miss Robin Hood”/”El Condor”/”Never Let Go”) sets it in modern Africa and tells about a vicious European slave ring that traffics smuggled blacks from Africa-to-Europe. Writers Stirling Silliphant and Ernest Tidyman let it roll with being a playful Shaft action flick. It packs a bit of a political punch and mucho graphic violence in its many action sequences, with the violence being more important than any political meaning. Richard Roundtree, who plays the hero black stud NYC private eye, John Shaft, brings to the forefront the stereotypical image of the black man’s potency.
Ethiopian Emir Ramila (Cy Grant) has his tribal strongman (Frank McRae) kidnap the Harlem private dick, Shaft, and after a tussle in the Emir’s residence convinces him to go to Africa and break-up the European slavers who killed his son (A.V. Falana) and smuggle the natives into France and Italy to work for slave wages. Shaft takes the job when offered a fee of $25,000 and gets to be trained to be an African by the Emir’s beautiful daughter Aleme (Vonetta McGee).
In Shaft’s ruthlessly violent way, he kills off a number of the gang leader’s operatives in hand-to-hand combat and then finds out that the Emir’s aide (Debebe Eshetu) is betraying him by also working for the slaver boss. After a few more casual murders, including the boss’s nympho mistress (Neda Arneric), Shaft uncovers the depraved Arab gang leader, Vincent Amafi (Frank Finlay), living in a Paris mansion, and dispatches him and then frees the slaves.
REVIEWED ON 5/29/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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