Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bullitt vs. Shaft


If you don't know who either are, then you don't belong in this debate. So, who wins? Fist fight, gun-fight, detective/deductive/critical thinking skills, lovemaking skills (I know Shaft's got an edge here, but hey, Bullitt boned Jackie Bisset back when Jackie Bisset was finer than any of these skinny vacuous white actresses we got today, including Angelina). Driving? it's Steve (Frank Bullitt). Come on...no contest there! Leather-wearing, it's Richard Roundtree. Other than that, tell me thoughts, you tough hombres and bad m-fs out there!!! It's likely raining/snowing/sleeting/windy (or bloody, if you're in Utah or Philly) wherever you are and you're bored, so leave a comment!!!

Disclosure: Shaft is one of my favorite films, but Steve McQueen is my favorite actor as you know. Bullitt is among his best, though I prefer the nuanced stuff in The Sand Pebbles and Papillon.

14 comments:

Snowman said...

Bullitt. That's my generation hahaha. Good ole American spunk and toughness, and the car chase alone makes him the best. Shaft had a better song, although the Mafia was still the enemy.

lance williams, sr. said...

This is tough. Being in the Bay area and lovin' me some Mustang, would say your boy Steve. But damn, you couldn't make this easy by saying Bullitt versus Harry Callaghan?

Shaft and Bullitt faced similar inside conspiracies, gangsters, crooked cops. I'd say their strategic thought processes were on par with each other. But Shaft was working the outside, for Bumpy. All Bullitt had to do was keep a witness alive. Hell, my man John Shaft wins. He's the better tactician.

Paul said...

Bullitt. Slave mentality would eventually defeat Shaft.

Nabila J said...

If you are pitting man vs. man, it's John Shaft. Is there a doubt? :)

Film vs. film however there a lot of points of comparison and contrast. My father has both on DVD and that is the only reason I'm lending a little estrogen to this debate. Shaft, Bullitt and the French Connection, the Godfather I are all early 70s films that are much better than contemporary urban or crime films of the last 20 years, especially when you take Martin Scorsese out of it, and indeed he made films in that era, so I think you can say The Departed follows that tradition.

Scott Joplin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Chambers said...

A fan from Texas "Scott Joplin" rushed to my defense and fended off a number of right wing dickhead comments (must be infiltrators from those blogs), including quite a few listings of "nigger." Thanks Scott, and you didn't need to delete you're own comment. Don't apologize for passion. Sometimes ad hominem attacks are the only way to reach these m-fs, as they certainly don't want you to discuss things with them.

PS I was surprised to see you were a Bullitt fan. No slight on John Shaft, however.

IndispensableDestiny said...

If tasked with a tough job with bad odds, I'd pick Frank Bullitt to help me out. But if I wanted to just get the job done and have a lot of fun while doing so, it's Shaft, John Shaft.

Dodd W said...

Scorsese did a good job of remaking the Hong Kong film "Internal Affairs". Again, American filmmakers lack their own creativity and borrow from others. Has Scorsese gone the way of Torrentino and will reproduce a collection of Asian films pawning them off to Americans are originals? Of course, we won't question the originality of the story. We'll just gobble it up. As for great crime stories in the past 20 years, shouldn't the "Usual Suspects" be considered one of the greats as well as "L.A. Confidential"? How about "Seven"? I know it's not of they're not of the Mafia, Crime Organization brand but they were all pretty original concepts...

Scott Joplin said...

I'm glad keep lookin' out Chris--it's sad when fools leave idiotic comments and then you look at their blogs and the stuff is beyond scandalous. It's racist, fascist and just plain crazy!

As for the topic, yeah I learned about Bullitt when I was helping my uncle fix his Mustang last year. Guess what that old has: 1968 Fastback Mustang GT 390. Yes,I cried!

But Chris, I have to give to Shaft mano a mano. He was not some tackhead from Harlem. If you read the Tidyman novel, as you have, and juxtapose that back to the film you see this brotha was sharp and tough, and not the leather wearing quasi thug that 30 years of mythology has built up. He wasn't a predator.

My roommate's girlfirend was in her watching the Westminster Dog Show, so I got inspired: Shaft was more like a Doberman. Doberman Pinschers retain their killer instincts but their job is to root out things, protect. That's what private dicks do, and what cops are at least supposed to do.

Frank Bullitt is more of a protector, like one of those Highland Sheepdogs. He gets dirty but he doesn't roll in it like Shaft though when it's over Shaft goes back to his nice loft downtown and showers with his lady. Bullitt will rip your throat out, but his job is to protect until things sort out, and that's pretty much what he did in the movie. He was reactive in his detective work, rather than Shaft, who had to be active.

A Highland Sheepdog can kill a Doberman, yeah, but 9 times out of 10, the Doberman's cunning and ferocity will prevail...unless the Sheepdog's got a Mustang GT.

Film comment was interesting from others in this post. I think Bullitt and Shaft were a part of that gritty 1970s flava and we need it back. My brother says we have that in The Sopranos and the Wire, but I don't see it. He's in his forties so I try to defer to him anyway. I'd say the Wire is just The French Connection upated, but with more brothas.

The comment on The Departed I agree with only because I saw the Chinese movie like four times, dude!!! That movie makes your eyes water and I'd say it's better than The Departed but for Jack Nicholson. Tony Leung could kick Leo's ass. Maybe Scorsese just lost it after Gangs of NY and ecided he was going to coast? Seven was original but it's more int he serial killer genre, and I think the suspense-killer genre--and here I give props to Mr. Chambers--is still the best American book genre, so it's the best movie genre as well. So as not to talk out my neck, I'd say #2 is the gritty detective story, and that's what LA Confidential
was. Look at the book and the film and tell me it's not a masterpiece. I think you can throw The Usual Suspects into that, too. It brings you back to Shaft, I guess, because he's the hardboiled dick unraveling a lot of stuff.

Thank you for the forum, Chris.

Pebbles Flintstone said...

Well, I gotta come clean. I am going to say Shaft b/c I am just now learning about Steve McQueen. As a child growing up in the seventies, I was not allowed to watch either, but became exposed to classic Shaft flics in college. Thanks to my husband, I am now beginning to appreciate the brilliance that was S. McQ.

He was so cool -- he was hot. He was a man's man and apparently Bullit was a tough dude. I'll have to watch the whole movie and report back. However, I like this concept of comparing larger-than-life movie characters. Keep up the good posts Chris!

scott bean said...

Bullitt. He was quiet cool, and quiet cool always finds a way to trump bravado cool.

field negro said...

Mmmm, I know as a black man I am suposed to say Shaft but....oh f**k it, Bullittt!

Anonymous said...

You hatas and Uncle Toms need to cease and desist from this. Shaft. Shaft 4evah!!!

allheavens said...

Damn, why Shaft and Bullitt? McQueen in his turtleneck and driving the beautiful 1968 GT Mustang 390 (still the best cinematic chase scene to date). Roundtree in his black turtleneck and leather jacket, walking through "the city" to the brilliant Isaac Hayes theme. DAMN!! I guess according to one commenter I will be getting my hate and Uncle Tom on, because hell, I must go with Bullitt. Man, I mean its McQueen, Steve McQueen. Roundtree was playing it cool and tough but McQueen WAS cool and tough.