All Eyez on Me, C
Rated R, 140 minutes
The long-awaited, overlong biopic "All Eyez on Me" tells the true story of one of contemporary music's most influential and brilliant hip-hop arts, Tupac Shakur. The deserves props of generous amounts of Tupac's music and an ambitious storyline, but it's a shallow, disappointing effort at best, and at 140 minutes, it still tends to only skim the surface of such a tumultuous, complex artist.
The true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur (Tupac look-alike Demetrius Shipp Jr., making his feature debut here), from his early days in New York to his status as one of the world's most recognized and influential voices. Against all odds, Shakur's raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mindset establish him as a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his death.
Directed by Benny Boom ("Next Day Air"), the sluggish, uneventful "All Eyez on Me," aptly named after the Tupac album of the same name, still leaves you wanting to know more about Tupac that we didn't already know about. It spends considerable time on his upbringing, with his Black Panther Mom (played with gusto by "The Walking Dead's" Danai Gurira), then his rise to fame and his collaborations and feuds with other artists, particularly Biggie Smalls, or The Notorious B.I.G, played by Jamal Woolard, who also played him in the Biggie Small biopic "Notorious" and whose life also was met with considerable tragedy.
Unsurprisingly, the most memorable parts of "All Eyez on Me" are the ones with the music, and it provies generous samples of Tupac's music, including his most iconic song, "California Love." Newcomer Shipp is also solid in a breakout turn as Tupac, though he wisely lip syncs, and Kat Graham is also strong as a young Jada Pinkett, who had a close friendship with Shakur.
Unfortunately, the story doesn't provide much insight into who Tupac really was, and is much more intent on retelling events in his life that are public knowledge. Tupac Shakur was a multi-faceted, complex artist who deserves a better story and movie than this.