All Eyez On Me review: Poor dummy guide that wouldn't even impress a newbie 2Pac fan

In simple words, it's a biopic the late Makaveli deserved but never received.

Director: Benny Boom

Starring: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Dominic L. Santana, Kat Graham, Danai Gurira, Jamal Woolard.

After witnessing some terrific biopics on-screen such as 8 Mile (Eminem), Too Legit (MC Hammer), Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (50 Cent), Notorious (Notorious B.I.G) and the very recent one released in 2015, Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A), which was nominated for Best Screenplay at the Oscars, a proper biopic on the West coast rapper, Tupac Shakur was long over due.

So the minute the news about a biopic being made on rapper and actor Tupac Shakur got out, fans and critics were in dilemma as they struggled with their mixed emotions of excitement and anxiousness for the film. “Will the film be able to portray Tupac’s journey without any restriction and bias?” was the question many found themselves raising. After all, Tupac Shakur was a complex person and that was known to all.

But what fans received as a biopic on one of the greatest rap artists of all time through ‘All Eyez On Me’ was a beaten up story sketched on selective truth, layered with poor script, which was further mercilessly butchered, thanks to the sloppy editing. Sadly, the film doesn’t quite live up to its title, ‘All Eyez On Me’, which was named after Tupac’s fourth studio album that also happens to be his last, as it hardly succeeds in holding the audiences’ attention throughout the film.

Directed by Benny Boom, ‘All Eyez On Me’ depicts the smaller life lived by a larger than life personality in the most contradicting way as it tries too hard to fit everything all at once while clearly missing out on some crucial aspects from the rapper’s life. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the message got lost in translation as the script couldn’t quite merge Shakur’s divided personalities; an inspiring artist fighting for his culture and the people from the streets through his music, and an egoistic desperado caught up in West-East coast beef. Rather, the film kept shifting so much that it felt like floating away on dark waters in a ship with no captain.

With ‘So Many Tears’ playing in the background, the film opens to Tupac being interviewed in prison by a journalist (Hill Harper). Soon enough, audiences are zoomed through several frames and before we know it, the man standing in front of our eyes has already made it big and is now a famous film star and a gangsta icon to many. There’s hardly any elaboration done to the story… the story of legendary rapper that the fans were hoping to live through the film.

While the casting is commendable, it’s the portrayal that loses the real essence of the characters being played on-screen. Demetrius Shipp Jr. — the acting debutant who plays Tupac Shakur, looked the part but unfortunately couldn’t quite play it. The actor didn’t only look a little out of place, and at times, all over the place in the film, he also couldn’t master Tupac’s capricious personality to perfection, or even near to it. And it’s not just the lead character that was flawed, but Dominic L. Santana, who plays Shakur’s nemesis mentor, Suge Knight, failed to meet the ferocious demands of the role. However, Danai Gurira looks pleasingly satisfying as the rapper’s mother, Afeni Shakur, a Black Panther Party member, whose profound ideologies influenced her son in a crucial way. To contradict that, in the film, Shakur does absolutely nothing to show that influence as we do not see him standing up for his oppressed brothers while they’re being beaten up remorselessly right in front of him. From being shot to his beef with frenemy Notorious B.I.G, everything looks incomplete. Even the film’s ending, which only leaves the viewer unsatisfied as he/she walks out of the theatre disappointed.

The film carelessly zapped through the 1993 sexual assault case that put Shakur in jail while easily depicting the woman as the culprit. However, the film didn’t miss out on making sure the world witnessed the kind of palpable relationship (read: friendship) Tupac shared with the future star Jade Pinkett (Kat Graham). Reiterating the fact, the film gives contradiction a complete new definition with it’s bias, half-factual delineation. However, the music used in the film will take you back on an euphoric ride as you nod your head and tap your feet to the rhythm of Shakur's iconic music. To the fans, the music will surely act as a saving grace as one can easily reminisce the good old golden days.

Written by Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez and Steven Bagatourian, ‘All Eyez On Me’ comes across as a poor dummy guidebook created for someone who wishes to become Tupac Shakur’s fan in mere 140 minutes for one can’t help but feel that the “facts” portrayed in the film were taken off his Wikipedia page, that too in a haste. In simple words, it’s a biopic the late Makaveli deserved but never received.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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