film reel image

film reel image

Monday, October 30, 2017

All Eyez on Me 2017 * * * Stars

All Eyez on MeDirector: Benny Boom
Year: 2017
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan

All Eyez on Me is my latest review. It's a biopic of the poetic Tupac Shakur. Tattooed, volatile, and sneering, Pac was once one of my favorite hip-hop artists from the 90's.

At 140 minutes, the director of "Eyez" (Benny Boom) tries his darnedest to include all of Shakur's life. I'm talking from when he was in his mother's womb to his infamous death via September of 1996. It's a valiant but glossed over effort with a little TV movie shtick, a workmanlike pace, and some side characters that sort of fade in and out (Dr. Dre, The Notorious B.I.G., Shock G, etc.).

Nevertheless, All Eyez on Me is still an absorbing drama. A lot of it is total, behind the scenes stuff giving you the Tupac Shakur you thought you knew. I'm not sure if everything is accurate but the film outlines the rapper as boisterous, tangled, and even kind of misunderstood.

Image result for all eyez on me movie scenesAnyway, I didn't gather why Shakur was falsely incarcerated for sexual assault nor why he was accused of shooting two off-duty cops in Atlanta. Also, I didn't know the whole side account with "Eyez" involving Tupac's mom (former Black Panther party member, Afeni Shakur). These are just a handful of examples because after taking in All Eyez on Me, I now have some hard insight into Shakur's complicated existence.

For what it's worth, "Eyez" paints a detailed picture for most of the way. It's a movie in which you the viewer, never feels safe (much like the way Shakur felt for 25 years). In the lead role, Demetrius Shipp Jr. looks eerily similar to the rap legend. Not only that, he gets all of Tupac's mannerisms and tics down to a T. Being a novice actor who pretty much auditioned on a whim, Shipp's portrayal almost feels like an impression (as opposed to a performance) but it's still darn good.

Image result for all eyez on me movie scenesNow could "Eyez" have worked out better if it was made into an actual documentary? Maybe. I'm not sure if this has already been done but you could include some archive footage and interviews from the people who knew Tupac intimately. Could "Eyez" as a do-cu transport you into Shakur's closed-off world while stirring up tension in the mind's eye? Possibly but the real-life stuff is more subdued than the make-believe. I sometimes dig make-believe more. Bottom line: See 2017's All Eyez on Me. It's no masterpiece but as a blow-by-blow, biographical yarn, it's "all" good. Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment