‘All Eyez On Me’ Review
I can’t deny it, I’m a straight ridah, you don’t wanna f**k wit me. Cue the music!
The life story of one of the greatest emcees to ever clutch a microphone hit theaters harder than a jolting bassline. I’m talking about “All Eyez on Me”, the biopic of Tupac Amaru Shakur, aka 2Pac.
It stars Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, and Dominic L. Santana. Tupac transcends music. He was a complicated figure and this movie attempts to capture those complexities in 2hrs 20 minutes. While this is like double overtime by film standards, it’s not enough time to showcase this man’s life.
Director Benny Boom begins the film with Tupac’s recollection of his childhood and how he’s molded into the icon we know. We learn how he gets his revolutionary attitude and how it influences his lyrics. The film doesn’t spend too much time on his adolescent and teen years; only with rushed highlights then abruptly on to the next timeline.
His mother Afeni Shakur, played by Gurira, gets well-received camera time and the audience is able to establish a rapport with her. She gives a solid performance throughout the film. You’ll understand why he wrote “Dear Mama” once you see what she goes through.
Kat Graham plays Jada Pinkett remarkably well. She looks, acts, and sounds just like her as the movie progresses. The chemistry between her and Shipp makes the characters’ relationship seem genuine and believable, despite what you may have heard actual friends of Tupac’s say.
Speaking of Tupac, how does this new guy Demetrius Shipp do?
This is Shipp’s very first role…as a lead…playing a cultural legend. All eyes would certainly be on him, right? He nails it, y’all. He embodies Tupac, from his mannerisms, speech patterns, similarities in looks – everything! What’s more important is that the guy gives a magnificent performance. He plays Pac better than that hologram Snoop Dog performed with years back at Cochella. He steps into the emcee’s shoes perfectly, and that’s a daunting task for anyone, let alone a newcomer.
The storyline is solid for the most part but becomes more cohesive around the beginning of the 2nd act. The movie deals with just about all his major events: the rape case, his clash with Notorious B.I.G, his time at Clinton Prison, and his signing with Death Row Records. Santana, who plays Suge Knight, by the way…maaaan listen. He is every bit of the menacing figure you’d remember from back in the day. Major shouts-out to him because he made me hate his character and feel sorry for his victims.
Many stories you didn’t know are covered in this biopic, especially the relationship between Pac and Suge, which is a very compelling one. It also sheds a light on why Pac was so contradictory. However, there are parts that are unnecessarily long, and others that need to be in-depth but cut short. Had this been written better, that time would’ve been golden. All-in-all, this is solid piece of work. Pac fans should get around like the song and see this.
This film almost wasn’t made. Two A-list directors dropped out of this project and creative differences along with lawsuits hampered the project.
There are some celebrity friends of Tupac’s that say their portrayals are inaccurate while others are praising it. I knew this movie would be heavily scrutinized, like Tupac’s life itself. It is an interesting film with a dope soundtrack and I enjoyed it.
I’m co-signing “All Eyez on Me” to the fullest! Love him or hate him, we need more like him. T.H.U.G L.I.F.E so we can hug life.
Did you see the film?