Tupac Shakur, even over 20 years since his untimely passing, is still one of the most beloved figures in cultural history.

 

For many people, Shakur was a representative for their personal struggle as well as the struggle of the community as a whole in America. His music, his acting and his actions (whether good or bad) were all taken in, deeply dissected, and applied to the lives of so many people who looked and pleaded for a leader and an inspiration.

 

This is why, when it was announced that a biopic would be made honoring and chronicling his 25-year-old life, many were opposed and automatically became sensitive to the fact that it could be done wrong.

 

In their defense, playing the role of Tupac and trying to encompass his overall impact is a very daunting task, especially when you try to encapsulate it within a 2 and a half hour timeframe. How do you fit 25 years of a full life into that short of a timeframe? Well, you don’t.

 

This brings me to ‘All Eyez on Me.’ Produced by L.T. Hutton and directed by Benny Boom, the official Tupac biopic released this past weekend to some pretty good box office sales. Projected to do about $20-$22 Million first weekend, it actually exceeded expectation by doing about $27-$28 million. Clearly not the runaway success of ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ which did about $60 million first weekend and shattered all expectation for a hip hop biopic, ‘All Eyez on Me’ was a great movie and is not getting the credit it deserves.

 

Again, this was a daunting task because you’re essentially dealing with a monster. Not a monster in a bad way, but a monster meaning that this is someone who has been immortalized by so many and who, in many ways, is looked at as a mythological figure in our history. Tupac was someone who transcended life and the way to live it. He was extremely flawed but even more extremely revered. His actions, his words, his heart was the topic of much controversy to the point where he was targeted by the government, by the streets and by the world who realized his impact and wanted to take him down.

 

To have to try to put this into the format of a film is extremely difficult on all accounts because he meant so many things to so many different people. Therefore, there was never going to be a true full acceptance to the movie because people hold him so close so any mistake made would spell the end for the movie in their eyes.

 

With this being said, ‘All Eyez on Me’ gets a rating of a 7.5/10 for me.

 

 

 

The film chronicles his life as best as it can through examining Tupac the inner man.

 

It starts with him sitting down for his famous jail interview in 1995 and uses the interview as a framework and narrative to push the plot of the film which is his life.

 

During the interview, Tupac details key events of his life from his inception into the world in the belly of his mother, Afeni, a black panther who had been incarcerated band released from jail all while being pregnant with Shakur.

 

This nails down the origins of his willingness to serve and represent the oppressed people of America because he was essentially born into the world of activism and therefore, carried that spirit out throughout his entire existence. What this does is provide a framework for some of the decisions he made and songs that he wrote. Due to the fact that, through the interview, Shakur details how his mom would make him read the New York Times and go to Black Panther rallies as a kid, he would use his platform in music and acting to speak about the troubles that so many face in a world where minorities were at a terrible disadvantage and had to resort to extreme measures just in order to survive and make something of themselves. Tupac became the mouthpiece for those people and truly felt the need to defend them at any cost. In the movie, there is a scene where we see him employ this thinking into an extreme action when he infamously shot two off-duty Atlanta officers who were harassing and abusing a black man for seemingly no reason. Because of who he was and what he stood for, Tupac felt the need to jump out of the limo he was riding in and confront the officers for something he felt was wrong, which ended in his shooting of them.

 

For me, the movie allowed me to realize his reasoning for actions such as these. Clearly, I don’t agree with shooting officers or anyone for that matter, but the movies provided a framework into the mind of the man who decided that it was important to take a stand for someone who was being harassed.

 

This look into his inner man and his psyche as a whole is one of the best parts of the film in my eyes.

 

What also stood out was his acting, specifically Demetrius Shipp, Jr., who not only looked like Pac, but did a good job of embodying his spirits throughout the stages of his young life.

 

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I believe that he effectively captured the essence of a man who had many traits and many different sides and personalities. We saw Shakur, through Shipp, as a man complex in nature but simple in intention. All he wanted to do was make a positive impact and empower others but we see how difficult of a task that is, especially for someone of color at this time who was at the forefront of popular culture. We see Shipp’s character go from kindhearted and caring to ruthless and reckless, all while trying to, in his heart do the right thing at all times.

 

A scene where this particular point stands out is towards the very end of the movie where Tupac is in Vegas and he is forced to make the decision as to either stay in the hotel which his girlfriend Kidada Jones or go watch the Mike Tyson fight with the rest of his Death Row Records family. Within this very scene we see the lighter side of Shakur when he is with Jones in the hotel room, comforting her and assuring her that he will be back in one hour because he needs to support his friend, Tyson, and the very next minute, we see him stomping out someone who had stolen the chain of one of his label mates some month prior, feeling the need to defend his friend.

 

Again, good intentions, bad decisions, because it was likely this decision of loyalty to his friend that may have ultimately gotten him killed later that night.

 

As much as the film, in my opinion, did a good job of capturing the essence of Tupac’s nature, there were some discrepancies within it between what was fact and fiction.

 

For example, Jada Pinkett Smith was quick to point out, via Twitter, that scenes where Tupac had read her a letter before leaving for LA and where they were arguing backstage at his House of Blues were untrue. Other scenes that weren’t factually correct were when, as before mentioned, Tupac was in Vegas and had defended his friend by proceeding to fight a man that had stolen a chain. The scene depicted Shakur as the initiator of the fight while in reality, Pac came in after the scuffle had already started.

 

Ultimately, in any movie, there are going to be some fabrications of some sort that are implemented in order to push the plot or subplots forward. In this case, in order to showcase the relationship that was cultivated between Jada and Tupac, the scenes that were fabricated were still implemented to show how much the two did love and care for one another. The scene where Tupac initiated the fight is implemented in order to showcase Tupac’s recklessness and undying loyalty to those in his circle. Again, this movie is really about Tupac the inner man, so these scenes are a big help in showcasing the different sides of this singular man and figure.

 

So, for me, the movie was a great watch and a look at someone who I didn’t get to experience growing up and had to rely on the internet for my perception of him. This film was a visual representation of someone who, no matter how you slice it, impacted history in such a way that it is natural for it to receive the backlash that it has gotten. Despite this, it was a solid film that I would encourage everyone to go see.

 

Are you interested in seeing All Eyez on Me? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.