(Rating: R – Runtime: 140 mins. – Genre: Biography/Drama/Music – Director: Benny Boom – Writers: Jeremy Haft & Eddie Gonzalez – Stars: Demetrius Shipp, Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham)
All Eyez on Me
Contributor: Rex Walls
There is nothing to latch onto here. Music video director Benny Boom’s film All Eyez on Me is the most useless biopic I have ever seen in my life.
There are two kinds of people that will watch this film. My date and I both represented each side when we saw the early screening last week.
I’m the Tupac fan. I know the albums, the movies, the East Coast/West Coast beef and even the legal troubles he faced over the years.
On the other hand, there is my girlfriend who knows absolutely nothing about the icon’s life.
Literally when I whispered to her, “That’s Biggie Smalls,” she whispered back, “Oh… Well, when is he gonna meet Notorious B.I.G?”
Audiences familiar with the life of Tupac will be left underwhelmed. This film offers absolutely nothing the 2003 documentary Resurrection didn’t include.
The sequences presented are minimized by the sloppy pacing and lack of clear direction. It jumps from one life event to the next, with no regards of actually examining any of them beyond their surfaces.
The movie begins with Tupac being interviewed in prison and keeps this set up for a large portion of the picture. It felt as if the columnist was reading Shakur’s Wikipedia page the night before the interview to create his questions.
Like a cheesy Lifetime movie, the interviewer asks questions and Pac somberly and artistically looks out the window before he answers. I’m surprised they didn’t use the flashback squiggly lines from 90’s sitcoms like Saved by the Bell.
Interviewer: “So what was your next hit record?”
Pac stares into space and contemplates. Cue the montage sequences with his mother while “Dear Mama” plays in the background.
GIVE ME A BREAK.
It’s almost as if they created a “Greatest Moments” visual album for fans to watch.
On the other hand, there are people who will see this movie who don’t have any prior background knowledge about Tupac Shakur. A biopic would be a great way for this audience to learn about him, right?
People who aren’t familiar with the rapper/actor have the worst of fates when viewing this debacle. These folks had to sit through two hours and twenty minutes of the most confusing jumble of events I have ever witnessed. If you don’t know about Tupac’s biggest records, the shady business practices of Suge Knight or about the legal troubles he faced, don’t expect to learn about them here. The movie plays out as if you already know about these things. Nothing is explained. It just goes.
So my question is this. Who is this film made for?
This movie is nothing short of a safely-played cash grab. It’s a rushed product because the studio was just about to lose rights to the music. A project Tupac’s estate and family won’t back, but can’t speak out against due to gag orders. A film critically acclaimed Oscar-winning directors John Singleton and Antoine Fuqua walked away from before handing it over to the music video guy.
This movie is a joke.
I refuse to even give it a scaled rating. Nope. I won’t do it.
(Click HERE to read another review by Rex Walls)