As a California native, there are some things that I’ll always have love for: In-N-Out Burger, beach life, and west coast rap. It’s no surprise that I pre-ordered my tickets to see the Tupac biopic, “All Eyez On Me” as soon as I could. The film, although not perfect, did not disappoint in the least. Below are five reasons why you should go see it this weekend:
1. Though there were some interesting choices in casting, the acting was solid overall. Demetrius Shipp Jr. was phenomenal as Tupac Shakur. His strikingly similar look to the late rapper definitely made the film eerily authentic. Poor guy is going to be a typecast forever. "Hey! You see Tupac in Wonder Woman 2? Crazy". Danai Gurira who portrayed Tupac’s militant mother, Afeni Shakur, delivered the real award-winning acting. Gurira, who is largely known for her role as Michonne in the AMC hit show “The Walking Dead”, was a great presence in every scene she was featured. Honorable mentions go to Jarrett Ellis as Snoop Dogg; not so much for look, but his voice was hilariously accurate. Kat Graham also coined Jada Pinkett-Smith’s mannerisms to the core.
2. The film did an excellent job placing a deeper scope into the relationship between Notorious B.I.G. and Shakur. Jamal Woodard reprised his role as Biggie from the 2009 biopic, “Notorious”. The script exposed a brotherly love between the two friends and allows the viewer to see a different perspective on how it eventually went sour and equally fatal. For what it’s worth, it was nice to see them support and respect one another before outside parties became involved.
3. The music — of course, the music – was fitting and added depth to the storyline. Not only did the movie, running 2 hours and 20 minutes, use poignant hits from Tupac’s discography, music from other relevant artists of the time were used to add to the vibe. The most bewildering choices of music are the last two tracks of the film, but you’ll need to go see it for yourself to understand.
4. The styling and wardrobe were excellent. The evolution of Tupac’s aesthetic was appropriate and endearing. The looks were in sync with the decades they were portraying. Now, with any period piece you will find some blunders; there were a couple present-day tropes that didn’t belong but it wasn’t enough to call foul. Overall, it felt like a time warp back to Death Row Record’s west coast reign.
5. As a successful biopic should, the film provided nuance into the life of Tupac Shakur. The media commonly labeled him as a thug — the “Thug Life” tattoo he placed across his stomach and those often-hotheaded actions didn’t help much to alleviate that perception. “All Eyez On Me” gives a solid background to show Shakur’s motives and intentions as an artist. You also get to see him as a brother, son, and lover. Sadly, it is another example of the deadly price of fame that many celebrities before and after him continue to face.
Overall Rating: B+
Go See “All Eyez On Me” in Theaters Everywhere
Hear more of Kevin's perspective on The Outline Podcast!