pac

Director – Benny Boom

Last Looks

After two decades one of the greatest emcees of all time Tupac Shakur is finally getting his own film. Following Shakur’s untimely death in 1996 it seemed as though his story would be brought to life much sooner considering his tremendous impact on the entertainment industry. The rapper, poet, actor, activist and mogul has been a staple in the hip hop community and has become an icon all before reaching the age of twenty-five. Pacs words are touching with his raw depictions of ghetto life and the struggles minority youths face on a daily basis. I have to admit I am skeptical in viewing this movie because I have heard so many mixed reactions on the project. Several hip hop names such as Jada Pinkett-Smith, Scarface and 50 cent have all spoke out and  publicly bashed the film. Regardless Tupac is a legend and his story deserves to be displayed on the big screen.
Breakdown

Tupac Shakur is born to black panther Afeni Shakur days after she is released from prison. Tupac was always a creative kid attending performance art school in Baltimore until ultimately having to move to the west coast. While in California Tupac started his career as a backup dancer moving his way up to actually being able to rap some of his own material on songs. Tupac’s talent was well noticed and lead to him to many opportunities for his own rap career as well as crossing over into film. The brighter star Tupac became however the more legal and street trouble began to follow him as his success made him a huge target.

Nose Candy

“I’m going to be a revolutionary!”

“Speak I did not raise you to be silent”

“I’m a reporter of the hood I speak about whats real”

“I don’t need you to support my vision I need you to understand it”

“Don’t let something you do for 50 seconds get you 50 years”

“A lot of people are born males but are not men, nobody fucks with me”

“No man stays in the same place forever”

“They are going to come after you and everything you love. They are gonna give you the tools that you need to destroy yourself,”

Style Points

  • Foreboding scene of the famous Tupac interview in jail catching up midway through the film
  • Slow motion of cop beatdown
  • Jamal Woolard reprising his role as Biggie
  • Newspaper headlines being blown up on-screen
  • Shot of Tupac last picture

Role Play

Demetrius Shipp Jr. I am pretty sure is a good actor and this is the only thing I have ever seen him in. It is just that this film wasn’t the best showcase of his talent. Benny Boom has directed countless exceptional music videos and this is what this film came off as. Shipp Jr. really just seemed like a stand in reenacting Tupac on stage and in music videos. He damn sure looks the part though as he has a very striking resemblance to Tupac.  The scene where Danai Gurira who played Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur attempted to be serious talking to her son and the dramatic music would kick in really fell flat not connecting on an emotional level. I have to agree with Jada Pinkett-Smith here that the this is not a knock on the actors who all tried. They did the best they could with what they were given.

Money Shot

The emotional last moments of Tupac Shakur’s life are chronicled as the film progresses  of Shakur slow motion walking through a Vegas casino being captured on security footage involved in a fight. Then going back to his hotel room saying goodbye to his girlfriend before deciding to roll out with Shug Knight to party on the streets of Vegas. This moment was bitter-sweet because even though the cinematography did an incredible job of displaying the joy of that last ride it ultimately lead to the unfortunate drive by shooting that ended his young promising life.

Final Touch

I have gone back and forth on whether or not I was going to post this review because I really, really wanted this film to be great and do not want to speak on it in a negative light. With that being said this is not a good film. Not saying that just from a story perspective but technically as well as in there were some choppy cuts and there were some scenes that stayed on a frame for too long. It is like a Lifetime biopic that casted look alikes and does a basic run through of an artist that you could have looked up on Wikipedia. For younger viewers or those not familiar with Tupac this film did not capture the essence of what made him so immortal. I have to say not for just this film but for  biopics in general. I am not a fan of the quick grab of trying to obtain money or ratings and not taking the effort to accurately depict someones life. Not only is the production company making themselves look awful but it is a huge disservice to the family and fans of whoever the movie is about to not create something respectable they would be proud of. Also for the next company that decides to attempt a Tupac film because I am sure there is going to be another one greenlit. I would really like to see a Tupac miniseries because even in a short life Tupac had so many eventful moments and impacted masses his story may need that longer run time to be told. In the words of Scarface, Tupac simply deserved better. Outside of some good performances and the opportunity to sing along to your favorite 2Pac joints for two hours All Eyez On Me is hardly worth looking at.

-Caleb Harris