Directed By: Benny Boom
Written By: Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez & Steven Bagatourian
Cinematography: Peter Menzies Jr.
Editor: Joel Cox
Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Kat Graham, Hill Harper, Danai Gurira, Annie Ilonzeh, Lauren Cohan, Keith Robinson, Jamal Woolard, Cory Hardict, Clifton Powell, Jamie Hector, Deray Davis
Tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices before his untimely death at the age of 25. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing.
It feels like a glossy version or maybe a kids report as it states the events but doesn’t ever come across the board insight or any real passion or emotions. As everything comes off to connect the dots but we never really feel like we get a full picture. Though they pass the assignment. Not with flying colors.
It was inevitable that I would eventually watch this film. If only out of curiosity sometime somewhere. As a fan of Tupac, So I guess I was hoping and looking for a film that offers a better representation and reasoning. Where as this feels more like a quickly thrown together tell all with little research but the blessings of his estate.
Everything feels so rushed so that there is no real dramatic depth to grasp and feel anything. As we all know he lives a short yet fast life but still should feel moments and have more reflection of certain times and moments. This feels more like a greatest hits compilation of his life that tries to show some behind the scenes times of those popular moments which might be informative to those who don’t know about them.
The film ends up playing like an R Rated behind the music television movie. Where the only offensive parts more are the language. As the film doesn’t seem to linger on the more salacious parts of stories. Nor does it ever get graphic. As it never really even gets too much into any psychology of character.
For fans of his this movie might feel like a stroll down memory lane. Though just like greatest hits albums that is the soundtrack to the film and is built with songs not by 2pac from the era popping up to art the mood and wrap up scenes it help with the transitions.
You can tell the budget for this movie is in the low budgets. As the film ain’t quite as big or vivid as it could be. Just as you can tell that this is the work of a director who is more used to primarily working in music videos. Even though strangely the film lacks any style or any real visual flourish. As the editing is way too rapid just as in music videos. It feels like the camera is afraid to linger for too long and has to keep entertaining the audience. As if it is afraid to let the audience think. As they might be bored.
None of the performances are bad. as Demetrius Shipp Jr. looks Similar like Tupac yet seems more a model as his performance is lacking and doesn’t really sound or remind you of him vocally. So it more feels like a stand in more than anything. Though not an embarrassing performance. Kat graham is actually really strong in her role playing a young Jada Pinkett-Smith a kind of voice of reason from his past trying to help and look out for him. Even when Suge Knight’s character comes into the film he seems more to show his cruelty yet comes off a little vague and general.
All the women in the film look beautiful. They are given little to do even Danai Guatia playing his mother seem more slight in her role. Even though in life she seemed more a greater influence and meant more like in Biggie Smalls story
Bringing back Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls gives the film a kind of connection to the much better film NOTORIOUS. Creating a kind of film universe of It’s own, but it also reminds us of how much better that film was compared to this as well as the lead performance. Also how long ago that film was as Mr Woodward looks too old and has lost a considerable amount of weight since then.
The film Never really shows how Tupac comes up with songs/lyrics and very little goes into the construction of his character and career. Especially it never shows his more artistic side and desire to show it more.
The contradictions of his life like being sarcastic and wanting to flourish but also be real on the streets and show he wasn’t Some wussy show off. And more show off his masculinity. Just as he had sings praising women and the hardships they go through. Not to mention the hard loves of people struggling around him, but made hit songs demeaning women as sexual objects and showing the successful side of outlaw Criminal life. As well as starting beefs that turned violent against those he felt set him up and wallowing in despair. Eventually becoming partly a victim of what he might have helped start.
Having watched director Benny Boom’s movies before and whole his style might work better in genres such as action or comedy they fail him when it comes to drama.
It’s watchable but there is the occasional speed bump you notice. Also the film is very long and you feel the time it takes. It just comes off Television movie version with more adult material.