A Blaxploitation crime action film, ‘Shaft’ stars Richard Roundtree as the titular private detective named John Shaft who is hired by a Harlem mobster to rescue his daughter from the Italian mobsters who kidnapped her. Directed by Gordon Parks and co-written by Ernest Tidyman and John D. F. Black, ‘Shaft’ is adapted from Tidyman’s novel of the same name, published in 1970. The film, upon its release, was a massive success and grossed $13 million against a budget of $500,000. In addition, the movie is often regarded as a pioneering work of art in the genre of Blaxploitation films. ‘Shaft’, in 2000, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
For this article, I have taken into account films that hold the same narrative characteristics as ‘Shaft’. However, the movies on this list are not of the Blaxploitation genre as there is a separate list for that. These are all films that are tonally or stylistically similar to this incredibly entertaining flick. Here’s the list of best movies similar to ‘Shaft’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Shaft’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Face/Off (1998)
Directed by John Woo and written by Mike Werb and Michael Colleary, ‘Face/Off’ centres around Sean Archer, an FBI agent who, after he is finally able to catch the dreaded terrorist Caster Troy, is ordered by his bosses to assume the terrorists’ appearance to crack down the secrets of the criminal syndicate. After going through the scientific process, he joins the criminal gang, only to realize that the real Cater Troy has taken his real identity and killed anyone who knew about the super-secret project. Now, Sean must find a way to re-assume his original identity while battling the government, the FBI and the criminals. ‘Face/Off’ is wonderfully over-the-top and endlessly entertaining. With John Travolta and Nicolas Cage’s theatrical performance, John Woo’s stylised direction and action sequences, and composer John Powell operatic sensibilities, ‘Face/Off’ will pump your adrenaline to hyperbolic levels.
9. Collateral (2004)
Directed by Michael Mann and written by Stuart Beattie, ‘Collateral’ follows Max Durocher, a cab driver with dreams of starting a taxi company of his own. However, one night, he finds himself in a troubling situation when he is taken hostage by Vincent, a contract killer who takes the aid of Max’s service to travel to Los Angeles to complete his hit list. In the midst of doing so, Max and Vincent form an unlikely chemistry and Max starts developing a personality of his own. A neo-noir thriller, the film is built upon the subtle direction by Mann and the chemistry between Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, who essay the duo of the killer and the driver, respectively. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics.