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Movie Review: All Eyez One Me

Textbook biopic. TV Movie quality

RAMA is back.

Whereas “Straight Outta Compton” managed to make N.W.A. appear to be even more legendary than they already were, All Eyez One Me unfortunately brings the legendary Tupac Shakur down to a TV movie quality. This is a standard textbook biopic that neither cinematically impresses nor shines a new light to the much known iconic figure in hip-hop history.

Directed by Benny Boom, newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. plays the late great Tupac Shakur in “All Eyez On Me” which chronicles his rise to superstardom as a rapper, actor, poet, activist and it even shows you his struggles in prison and in his time at Death Row Records which was led by one of the most famous short-tempered men alive, Suge Knight.

One thing that this movie did perfectly however is the casting, all the actors, especially Demetrius Shipp. Jr., look a lot like the real life people they play. The next time Snoop Dogg wants to have Tupac perform with him on stage at Coachella, he can ditch the hologram and just have Demetrius be up there instead.

As to film itself, as I said earlier, it doesn’t get more textbook than “All Eyez On Me.” Everything about it from the production design to the cinematography to the directing standpoint, plays inside the lines and borders, it’s just one re-enactment after another, there’s nothing more to it. Plus, it runs way too long for its own good. No matter how big a Tupac fan you are, halfway through “All Eyez On Me,” you’ll be looking at your watch wondering when it’s going to end.

There’s probably a couple of aspects about it that I do appreciate, one being the existence of an interviewer that challenges Tupac, watching those two characters throw opinions at each other was like watching Ali vs. Liston in a boxing match. The other is the emphasis of Tupac’s mother, who’s well-performed by Danai Gurira. Clearly, Pac’s mother being an activist was a big influence on Pac’s social commentary lyrics. Is newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. a revelation? I think the jury’s still out on that one, but it’s undeniable that what you see on the screen is like Tupac resurrected. It’s just too bad that the film in totality is mediocre at best.

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