Rapper Tupac Shakur’s life hits the silver screen in “All Eyez on Me.”
Born in New York, Tupac (Demetrius Shipp Jr.) and his family lived in poverty. With his dad and stepdad out of the picture, Tupac steps up as man of the house with his mom, Afeni (Danai Guria) and sister, Set (Rayven Symone Ferrell). Tupac and his family eventually move to Baltimore, where Tupac attends the Baltimore School of Performing Arts. One of his best friends is Jada Pinkett (Kat Graham).
Just as things finally work out for Tupac, he and his sister are sent to California to live with a family friend. Afeni joins them, but Tupac sees her buying crack from a local dealer. Fed up with his mom, he checks her into a rehab center. Later, Tupac picks up rapping from writing poetry and eventually, with the help of some powerful friends, joins the rap group Digital Underground.
2Pacalypse Now with the hit, “Brenda’s Got A Baby,” is Tupac’s first album, which lands him a spot on Interscope Records. From there, Tupac releases more music, experiences numerous brushes with the law and speaks of equally for African-Americans (A trait he received directly from Afeni, who was a Black Panther).
“All Eyez on Me” was a poor biopic. Shipp Jr. was a phenomenal reincarnation of Tupac, but that wasn’t enough to hold me through the film. The scenes with Jada Pinkett were meaningful, but I wondered if that actually happened. Pinkett recently told the media about the inaccurate scenes with if him and her. She said Tupac never read her the poem he wrote about her. She read it when it was published in “The Rose that Grew from Concrete.” She never said goodbye to him before he left for California and they never had arguments backstage after one of his shows.
There were also scenes where Tupac fell in love with Quincy Jones’ daughter. The scenes seemed out of place and unbelievable. Tupac dissed Quincy Jones, Eddie Murphy and even Spike Lee for not helping out their own people. The scenes with him and the Notorious B.I.G. weren’t good either. They brought Jamal Woolard to reprise his role as Biggie, but he didn’t have that same edge that he did in 2009’s “Notorious.” Plus the guys that played Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg made me think, Are these the only guys you could find?
This biopic was too long and it didn’t have the same effect on me as “Tupac: Resurrection” and “Notorious.” In “Tupac: Resurrection,” Tupac’s story was explained in his own words. From starting with Digital Underground to thinking he was “set up” by Biggie when he was shot five times, Tupac described it all and it’s incredible. Why would I want to hear someone’s story from someone else when I just heard it from the actual person?
“Notorious” was a different breed of biopic. Even though Biggie himself wasn’t narrating, the story was still powerful. They described his relationship with Tupac as chill and funny before they became nemeses. Also, one of the best scenes was Biggie’s mother taking her son’s body home and she saw all of his fans in the streets cheering him and playing his music. That showed how much of an impact Biggie made on them. This didn’t happen with Tupac. It would have been nice if Afeni would have said farewell to her son or his fans made shrines for the rapper.
The only thing “All Eyez on Me” did right was playing most of Tupac’s songs from “I Get Around” to “Keep Ya Head Up” and “California Love.”
“All Eyez on Me” had hype, but it didn’t deliver. Stick with “Tupac: Resurrection” and his other documentaries where he’s telling his story. Tupac’s legacy and your wallet will thank you.
Studio: Summit Entertainment (2 hr. 20 min)
Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr. Danai Gurria, Kat Graham, Hill Harper, Kidada Jones, Jamal Woolard, Dominic L. Santana, Keith Robinson
Director: Benny Boom
Story: A biopic about the life and times of Rapper Tupac Shakur from peaking in the rap game to his untimely death.
Final Score: D-