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Film Review: 'All Eyez on Me' Humanizes Tupac Shakur

by Todd A. Smith

 

Demetrius Shipp Jr. (left) and Dominic L. Santana star in “All Eyez on Me” (Photo Credit: Quantrell Colbert).


 

The Power of Pac, the Person 

 

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Rapper-actor Tupac Shakur lost his life in Las Vegas over 20 years ago.


Over twenty years later, his legacy still brought out Houston celebrities in droves to the advance screening of “All Eyez on Me,” the biopic based on his talented but turbulent and brief life.


One by one, stars like celebrity preacher/reality star John Gray (“The Book of John Gray”), Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, comedian/radio personality Marcus D. Wiley (“Yolanda Adams Morning Show”), along with rappers Bun B, Slim Thug and Z-Ro packed the theater to relive the life and legacy of one of the most popular rappers in hip-hop history.


But thanks to filmmaker Benny Boom and producer, L.T. Hutton, “All Eyez on Me” became more than a musical trip down memory lane.


“All Eyez on Me” immediately became a Tupac tutorial on the man behind the enormous myth.


The film showed a man who had vulnerabilities like everyone else.


The film showed a man who had fallen in love with the woman of his dreams.


The film showed a businessman ready to take his career to the next level.


And the film showed a man whose flaws and immaturity cost him his life after only 25 years.


Despite being arguably the best rapper to ever bless the microphone, “All Eyez on Me” will leave fans with the bitter taste in their mouth of what could have been.


What would have happened if Tupac had the time to stop the so-called East Coast/West Coast rap beef?


What would have happened to Tupac if he had never signed to Suge Knight’s (Dominic L. Santana) Death Row Records just to get out of Clinton Correctional Facility in New York on bail?


What would have happened if he did not go to Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1996?


Some might say a Tupac biopic like “All Eyez on Me” is unnecessary because many fans know everything about him.


Many fans know that his mother Afeni Shakur (Danai Gurira) was a Black Panther, and was in jail along with the rest of the Panther 21 while she was pregnant with Tupac (Demetrius Shipp Jr.).


Many fans know about the poor upbringing, and his high school years at the Baltimore School of the Arts with classmate Jada Pinkett (Kat Graham).


Many fans know about him getting his start with the rap group Digital Underground and his riveting movie debut in the Ernest Dickerson directed film “Juice.”


Many know why he had to sign with Death Row Records, and how his brief tenure with that record label spiraled quickly out of control.


However, “All Eyez on Me” is brilliantly made because Boom and Hutton dive deep into the psyche of Tupac and do not merely stick with the headlines and sound bites.


With “All Eyez on Me,” fans that disagreed with a lot of Tupac’s actions will see how his experience could influence some of his actions and bad choices.


Similar to “The New Edition Story,” Boom weaves reenactments of popular Tupac videos into the real story of his life.


Who knew that Tupac loved the song “Blackberry Molasses” by 1990s R&B group Mista, which featured future solo artist Bobby Valentino?


Who knew that Ted Field (Brandon Sauve) of Interscope Records did not want to release Tupac’s first solo hit, “Brenda’s Got a Baby?”


In the film, Shipp did a brilliant job of recreating Tupac on the big screen.  


The new actor did not always sound like Tupac, but he definitely felt the power and charisma of the late rap star.


The film boasts cameos by members of the rap group The Outlawz and Money B of Digital Underground.


However, “All Eyez on Me” should have spent more time on Tupac’s childhood.


The film breezes through his formative years, and only gets going after he joins Digital Underground.


But that just goes to show how legendary Tupac’s life was.


His life was filled with so much drama that no biopic could totally capture his entire life and legacy.


Tupac life was like a quick comet through the sky.


It was brief, but all eyes were definitely on it.

 


REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR

This article was published on Friday 16 June, 2017.
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