The middle of a confusing 48-year trilogy is cleaning up the streaming streets

What is the name of a 1971 classic that made the titular hero the coolest cat in the world? Wave! And the sequel, which came almost 30 years later and topped the box office? Wave! What about the third part, which was released almost two decades later and flopped spectacularly? Wave! You’re damn right.

MGM, Paramount, and Warner Bros. each edited a part, but for some reason they couldn’t find another title for any of them. Richard Roundtree debuted as John Shaft before a small cameo in the 2000 follow-up, which starred Samuel L. Jackson at his charismatic best as the OG’s nephew…aka John Shaft.

via Paramount

Widely panned by critics and grossing less than $22 million of its $35 million theatrical budget, the threequel reconnected Roundtree’s Shaft with the father of Jackson’s Shaft while starring Jesse T. Usher as JJ Shaft , also known as John Shaft, introduced Jr. Jr. as he took his name from both his old man and grandpa and reunited all three in a movie called Wave. Roger that?

The threequel is definitely the weakest link of the trio by far, but it’s the tempestuous middle chapter that does the streaming justice on the street, with iTunes subscribers reveling in watching Jackson’s wily cop square off against Christian Bale’s scheming second-gen real estate tycoon .

According to FlixPatrol, Wave (not predecessor Wave or successor Wave) has clinched a top spot in the platform’s most-watched rankings, and it’s worth the price of admission alone for a wondrous pivotal performance in which Hollywood’s coolest feline injects every ounce of his charisma into a role he was born to… if anyone else would not have played it first. The middle of a confusing 48-year trilogy is cleaning up the streaming streets

Lindsay Lowe

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