Richard Roundtree again heads the cast as a swinging black private eye, caught between opposing criminal forces. This time around, there is a lot more production and nurturing of the project, not all of which is to the good, however.
Script finds Roundtree trapped in the double-dealings of Wally Taylor, who has killed partner Robert Kya-Hill for money. Moses Gunn is again excellent as a black mobster, and Joseph Mascolo is a white mobster eyeing Taylor’s territory for a move-in. Julius W. Harris is a police detective who gives Roundtree his head to unravel the mess.
The first Shaft had a running-scared excitement not only in the characters, but also throughout the whole picture. The new film seems more self-conscious, contrived, ambitious, and sluggish.