All Eyez on Me
It’s one Hip Hop’s story lines that has been anticipated for the past 20 years. Some artist mark a place in time by their music. This entertainer transcended that. It became the soundtrack of that span of our life. But this artist took it even further than this. His voice actually marks that span of our lives. His words, his sound bites, and his thoughts. His thoughts on politics social injustice and life on the streets all mark the span from the early to mid 90s. Such great songs as Brenda’s Got a Baby, California Love, Gangsta’s Party, So Many Tears, Ghetto Gospel, Dear Mamma, Hail Mary, Keep Ya Head Up and so many many more, frame the picture of our existence. Doesn’t matter if you came from the inner city or the suburbs. If you were a youth or young adult of that time you could mouthed the hooks to more than one song that’s for certain. So now comes the Biopic. It’s the story that became the unspoken promise that for 2 hours on the silver screen we’d be catapulted back to a span in our lives where we’d be able to relive the experience all over again. This artist needs no introduction. The story needs no lead in but we can’t wait to view it frame by frame on the big screen. This is Tupac: All Eyez on Me.
To play Tupac is a tall order. It’d be tough for even accomplished actors with awards already behind their name like Jamie Foxx. Who so dynamically delivered on the role of Ray… or Denzel Washington for his exquisite delivery of Malcom X or even the new comer, Jamal Woolard who did such an outstanding job with Notorious B.I.G. that he was asked to come back and play him again in this film. But this is Pac, an intellectual thug… a gangster of social consciousness… a super predator of empathy for the disenfranchised and the underdog in the exaltation of the discouraged. He manages to be the a living opposite of himself from one minute the next. Who can play such a man?
Well there is one who saw fit to take on the task and that’s none other than Demetrius Shipp Jr under the direction of Benny Boom of music video fame as well as the movie Next Day Air.
Some controversy is looming thought about the film. John Singleton was originally approached to direct the movie but later turned it down eplaining that the film was a money grab with not enough attention being given to doing Tupac's life story justice. 50 cent said the movie was garbage and you should save your money. We will let you decide.
Without giving away too much the movie tries to do a lot in a short amount of time. With such a complex character to depict they try to communicate that complexity by presenting the many aspects of Tupac’s life. Most agree that this leaves thirsting for depth in these instances looking for that kernel of unknown in an already well documented and researched musical figure but must cram so many instances into such a short amount of time the movie is unable to do so.
Shipp does a good job of carrying the movie but some might argue that he misses the mark on truly grasping the depths of Tupac’s passion and mistakingly portrays it as anger. It was also a bit dissatisfying to see that we never get to hear Shipp spit a Tupac line. Unlike Jamal Woolard in Notorious we can’t really give him his certification as a true MC because we never hear him spit any bars. This holds you back from truly buying into his character. His close resemblance and master of Pac’s speaking voice and mannerisms help you forgive that just a bit however.
If you are a Tupac fanatic the movie may leave you wanting a bit more. If you are a casual fan of Pac as a Hip Hop artist and only know the news bites about his life this movie will help understand the method behind the madness you’ve heard. If you knew nothing about Tupac this movie will bring you up to speed on who is arguably the most influential rapper of all time. Overall the movie is good. Not great but good. As a Hip Hop fan you’d definitely want to have on your list of digital downloads to play. If not it’s a good date night movie or a cool way to start the night out with the homies. Lots of cool music to get you in the mood for partying as a bad boy or a bad girl but be safe you certainly don’t want your night to end like the movie.
As you know we rate all of our reviews with one of the three ratings. Pay Full Price, Catch the Matinee or Wait for the Download. For the music alone the movie is awesome but as far as the film is concerned I’d say save a few bucks and Catch the Matinee.