An official biopic of the life and times of the influential and prolific rapper, poet, actor and activist Tupac Shakur – a movie that all fans have been waiting for for many years including myself.
Since the release of the film “Notorious”, the true and untold story of the late rapper Notorious BIG, and the success and popularity of that film, there have been many successful musical biopics; Ray Charles and Johnny Cash to name but a few. Does All Eyez On Me belong on that pedestal of award winning great biopics of some of our beloved musical legends?
Ever since a young age, I, like many others have been a fan of many amazing artists that have paved the way for future artists and set new boundaries in their genre of music. No matter what genre of music you follow, there are legends that have lived and died leaving behind music and a legacy that will live on forever. I was very much looking forward to seeing this film and had been following the progress in the pre-production stages. It got the blessing of the late Afeni Shakur (Tupac’s mother) to be made and would tell the untold and life story of the famous rapper. Before the film’s release, Tupac was admitted into the rock and roll hall of fame and a ceremony was held where friends of the late rapper paid homage to the star. Word on the grapevine stated that there was also an unofficial film biography in the works at the same time this film got the green light to be made. I waited months for the release into cinemas and hoping that the film would be a success and pay homage to a man that was a true inspiration to many people but at the same time if you’re given the tools to destroy yourself because of what you believe in and being a spokesman for the people then this ultimately was the downfall of Tupac Shakur. Tupac was gunned down in Las Vegas on September 7th 1996 and died 7 days later on 13th September, some 20 years later his murder still remains unsolved and nobody has been brought to justice for the killing.
In much anticipation of this film sadly I felt let down, there was no flow at all with very choppy scenes and for a life full of speculation, prolific moments but also a true activist and spokesman the film failed with telling the story properly. For somebody that is not a fan and not heard of the late rapper it was not something I could follow easily with no character development or fully portraying Tupac Shakur’s life story to the best they possibly could.
The first half of the film is Tupac’s life growing up with his Mother Afeni Shakur and father in law (part of the Black Panthers, a revolutionary black nationalist and socialist organization). Then onto his first musical start in the rap band Digital Underground, then his first ever solo album 2pacalypse Now. The film keeps cutting back to an interview with Tupac throughout the first half of the film. But then the second half of the film comes around and there is no interview and no consistency. A format that just did not work at all and it would have been so much better in giving the audience the actual story where the scenes made sense and flowed along nicely. A big ask yet I felt the actors have the talent to do this (and very well) but it was sadly not what the producer and director wanted to portray. Coming onto the actors it is worth noting that they did an excellent job and I felt that Demetrius Shipp Jnr (Tupac Shakur) and Danai Gurira (Afeni Shakur) played their parts tremendously well and very much like the real icons. I read beforehand that Demetrius Shipp Jnr spent 5 years perfecting Tupac’s characteristics and mannerisms and read up on his life before playing the part to get totally into the mind of the rapper, which is some commitment. Also Kat Graham who played the part of the actress Jada Pinkett (Tupac’s close friend) played the role very well (although Jada herself didn’t seem to think so). We see throughout the film the people in Tupac’s life like fellow rappers Dr Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg. These actors were given little opportunity to expand on their characters unfortunately.
If you are expecting an award winning biopic you will be very disappointed and so was I as a fan. The film could have been an award winning biopic not to mention a film for future generations to appreciate what a legend of his time and spokesman of his generation he truly was. It’s settling they have this regardless in his music, poetry and films. Overall, I felt let down by this film and just hope that there will possibly be a better one made in years to come.
Author: Paul, York store