Movie Review: All Eyez on Me (2017)

Starring: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira and Dominic L. Santana

Directed by: Benny Boom

The life of influential rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. From childhood to superstardom we see the struggles that he battled in his short life before he was gunned down at 25 years old.

My first movie of the month of June comes in the way of a biopic based on the life of legendary rapper Tupac Shakur. Arguably one of the greatest names in the world of rap music and one of the most successful names too, he’s a man that managed to open up a lot of doors for himself within the music world and ventured into movies too. Tupac is somebody that oozed charisma and in such a short life that ended with him being shot down at the young age of 25 he was able to achieve so much. This movie is entitled after one his many platinum selling albums which only seemed fitting as at that stage of his career all eyes were on what Tupac Shakur was doing and what he was going to do next. One thing that confused me slightly about this movie is that it seemed to be released under the radar to an extent, especially when compared to other biopic movies from the same field of expertise as Tupac. Eminem’s movie 8 Mile, 50 Cent’s movie Get Rich or Die Trying and Biggie Smalls’ movie Notorious all seemed to have been advertised and marketed quite extensively but this movie about arguably a more prominent and more important figure within the world of rap didn’t quite get the same treatment unless it was just something that kept eluding me.

Demetrius Shipp Jr. Was chosen to play the lead role of Tupac Shakur and appearance wise you couldn’t have hoped for a better look-a-like but he did lack that flowing confidence that Tupac appeared to have. While his acting was fairly reasonable throughout, he just lacked that something special that made Tupac who he was which in all fairness to Demetrius that may be something extremely hard to portray and act out as you either have it or you don’t. For me the standout performer of the entire movie was Danai Gurira, who played the role of Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur. Danai Gurira shot to my attention for her great performance in Black Panther as Okoye and just a year prior to her getting her big break within the MCU she was in a supporting role in All Eyez on Me. She was great in her performance as a black militant turned crack fiend turned doting mother, everything about her performance just screamed quality and she was able to really lose herself within the role and become the person she was portraying. Also, Dominic L. Santana was pretty great in his portrayal as Suge Knight. He really owned every scene he was in and was able to show why Suge Knight was a force to be reckoned with within the volatile world of rap music.

Disappointingly this movie had an extremely shoddy script, every other word spoken was “motherfucker” or some form of those two words combined and it was just a lot of profanity for the sake of it. While the movie was telling the story of Tupac’s life it didn’t really do a good job at connecting all the dots, just jumped from important event to important event without any real connection and failed to focus on any particular area of his life to allow the audience the chance to connect with him as a character at any stage of his life. Finally, Kat Graham who played Tupac’s long term friend Jada Pinkett was really awful in her role. She wasn’t involved in many scenes thankfully but when she was involved she was definitely the worst part of whatever was going on at the time.

Overall, this movie seems to be getting slammed online, especially on IMDb for being awful but it isn’t as bad as the reviews suggest. While Tupac definitely deserves a better movie portrayal of his incredible life, All Eyez on Me was a solid watch which did have its fair share of flaws but remained entertaining for the most part.

6/10

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