All Eyez on Me and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment
Directed by Benny Boom
If there’s one thing that we know Hollywood is good at it’s driving a good idea into the ground, and with the record breaking success of Straight Outta Compton, imitators were bound to pop up to try and ride its coattails. Now that’s not to say that piggybacking off the success of one film is necessarily a bad thing; especially when the film being made is good enough to deserve the attention it wouldn’t otherwise get by following in a successful movie’s wake. I know nothing about Tupac Shakur, but from what I understand he’s just as influential in the world of hip hop as NWA was in their day which makes his story ripe for adaptation. Does this movie manage to live outside the shadow of its most obvious influence and stand on its own as a great biopic, or will this fail to find an identity outside a Straight Outta Compton cash in? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the life of Lesane Parish Crooks, also known as Tupac Amaru Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr), who rose to prominence as a rapper, actor, and black liberation advocate in the early and mid-1990’s. Starting out from a young boy, he saw the horrors that institutionalized racism inflicted on his community and his own family as his mother Afeni Shakur (Danai Gurira) and step father Mutulu Shakur (Jamie Hector) were prominent figures in The Black Panthers Party. After growing up in Baltimore where he met Jada Pinkett (Kat Graham) who remained a lifelong friend, he was eventually forced to move to California which is where he took off as a rapper and became part of the Digital Underground which is where he started to branch out as a solo artist and make a name for himself in the wider public. Of course, being a huge success comes with its own caveats and Tupac has to face a corrupt criminal justice system, disloyal sycophants who want to suck him dry, and even his own personal demons which are brought to the forefront once he becomes a household name and a superstar. Does this retelling of the life of the legendary rapper manage to capture all the nuances of the man behind the headlines? What can this man’s story tell us about how broken the system is even to this day? If this movie is anything to go by, was the dude even a human being or simply a demi-god walking among mere mortals?