When it became official that hip hop icon Tupac Shakur was finally receiving his first ever bio picture. Many including myself was ecstatic. Even with NWA’s Straight Outta Compton having innaccuries in terms of events, situations that have takened place and awkward portrayal of characters, Straight Outta Compton still did its justice and introduced NWA into a new generation of fans. The success of Straight Outta Compton opened up doors for hip hop bio pics and I was excited to witness Tupac’s complex life being on the big screen.
But shortly that excitement went into serious doubt. Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur passed away last May and her death left the movie heavy in limbo in terms of direction. The entire direction of the film and fruition of it has been non stop controversy for the past year. Between John Singleton getting fired, Tupac’s Estate, The Outlawz, and members of Tupac’s family clashing over the film. It seemed like what would be a prominent moment in Tupac’s legacy would end up being the biggest black eye.
The negative energy that Pac left the earth with seemed to rear its head once again in not only in the making of the film but also with different rappers, managers, radio personalities steady disrespecting Tupac and even Afeni herself. Then there was heavy concern that the actor anointed for the role of Tupac(Demitriss Stripp) was gonna drop the ball playing Tupac. Seeing many Tupac portrayals over the years from different actors in different bio pics, Fans of Pac had gotten to the point where they felt for Tupac’s legacy that they should just scrap the movie all together.
Despite the bad press for the past couple of months, The remaining Outlawz Young Noble, EDI, Rap Video Director Benny Boom and former in-house Producer for Death Row LT Hutton kept it moving and finished filming the movie which was ironically ready for release on Tupac’s birthday June 16th. The results have been a mixed ranging between negative and positive. Not good in comparison to Straight Outta Compton which received critical acclaimed and possible Oscar nods.
I finally seen All Eyez on Me after the hype had died down because I wanted to judge for myself and get a better point of view of how to review the film. So for this review I’m gonna start with the positives: The main concern of Tupac’s movie was Demitris Stripp for starters. Many were concerned that he wouldn’t be able to capture the passion and charisma Tupac had. Even though he showed started off shaky on certain parts which is due to this being his first film, He started to find his groove through the middle of the film and you would believe that you are actually seeing Tupac himself on the big screen.
Stripp captured Tupac’s mannerisms, his passion, his sensitivity, his fiery, and intellect in more ways than any actor that Ive seen play Tupac. He was also met with a great cast of actors and actresses .Danai Gurira from the Walking Dead and Kat Ghram did a magnificent job at portraying Afeni Shakur and Jada Pinkett Smith respectfully. Dominic Santana did a solid job at portraying the more serious demininor as Suge Knight and Chis Clarke was perfect as Shock G from Digital Underground. The group that put Tupac on the road and had him pay his dues. I also liked that they showed the tension in Tupac’s career at Death Row and him shooting those cops showing that Pac was truly for his people.
What would have been the main concerns of the film ended up being the pluses. The negatives were actually the poor character development of other people in Tupac’s life, how the scenes are rushed together which left many holes in Tupac’s life that weren’t even mentioned. For starters you can ask the questions. Stretch? Treach? Where’s Pac in the 1992 King Riots? Spitting on Cameras? Poetic Justice? Where’s the group Thug Life? Hit Em Up wasn’t even explained in detail. Why explain how he formed the Outlawz?
Then you would think that with them bringing back Gravy from Notorious to play Biggie that you have a perfect match. Instead Biggie just walks around like a aimless robot and just mumbles throughout every scene he’s featured on. You see Biggie and Pac’s friendship covered in detailed. Puff Daddy isn’t even featured in here and along with Jimmy Henchmen. Not to mention the inaccuracy of Pac performing Hail Mary at House of Blues, a song that he never performed and which was released after he was killed.
Overall AEOM falls short of letting different characters breathe, innaccurate moments, key missing pieces of Tupacs life that made him icon status. They could have used more of his music to tell more of his story and I felt the movie was poorly paced. Does this movie do justice? It reveals that LT Hutton and Benny Boom were way over their head with this project. Between this being their first ever film and covering Tupac’s complex life, This movie fall shorts of hits potential. Stripps performance saved the movie from really being a disaster.
Vic Rating: 4/10