One of the most anticipated biopics to ever be put into production, and from all signs the hardest with lawsuits, multiple directors and script changes, the likelihood that the story of Tupac Amaru Shakur would hit our screens became as much a conspiracy theory as his ill-fated demise. But arrived it has in the form of All Eyez On Me, and now we ask the question… So, is it any good?With the success of 2009’s Notorious and 2015’s Straight Outta Compton, the demand for a 2Pac biography was too great to be overlooked, and acclaimed music video director Benny Boom was anointed to bring Tupac’s story to the screen. Doing justice to the legacy of the prolific culture icon is a colossal task with lots of fan expectations, but in my eyes, he’s succeeded.
The weight of a biopic lands on the shoulders of the lead, and in Eyez first-time actor Demetrius Shipp Jnr shoulders that burden. With an uncanny likeness to the icon, he embodies Pac from the voice, mannerisms and presence. Shipp Jnr was born to play this role, literally, being around Death Row Records as a small child while his father worked on Tupac’s classic track Toss It Up.For true fans, this isn’t an untold story, there’s enough information out there already to fill an encyclopaedia on 2pac. What All Eyez On Me does in 2 and a half hours is piece together his story in such a way that flows through Pac’s life and hits all the major touchpoints; growing up in the Black Panthers, his early rap career, the Biggie drama, rape case, Death Row, and finally his untimely death; all without feeling rushed or skimping on the emotion behind it. My biggest fear for the movie was the music, but thanks to licensing we are blessed to hear the original tracks throughout, and the live performances were perfectly lip-synced without any cheese.
Being a fan of Pac’s music since ’95, I went into this movie with higher hopes than most, but within 5 minutes the fears were gone. Not only did I get chills up and down my body, I completely forgot I was watching an actor portraying Tupac and believed every minute that it was him.What people will take away from this movie is a greater understanding of the multi-dimensional man behind the rap superstar. Being a fan of the music is one thing, but getting an insight into the man, through all the speculations and rumours is the real prize.
ALL EYEZ ON ME is in cinemas NOW.