All Eyez on Me Review

By Ian Crow

Jumping on the success of Straight Outta Compton, All Eyez on Me is the biopic of one of the most highly influential rappers in the 90’s. Still to this day, people talk about Tupac Shakur, whether it’s his music or the unsolved murder that people still theorize about. All Eyez on Me attempts to step up to the mark to try to tell Tupac’s story in the best way possible as fans expectations are undoubtedly at a high. The film concentrates on a number of different periods of time over the rappers life. Trying to cram in so many different parts of Tupac’s life in the film is one of its many downfalls. The amount of drama that followed the rapper over his lifetime is unprecedented. Trying to cram it all in without some of the parts being glossed over is impossible.

Straight from the get go, All Eyez on Me comes across as a big of a mess. The constant switching from different parts of his life means that I found it very hard to feel settled within a certain part of the story. You aren’t allowed enough time in his childhood to really get a feel of what Tupac is supposed to be feeling or even to have enough of an impact to understand his future motives. Even when we spend a good amount of time with Tupac going through the struggles of the music business, it all seems a little too familiar. There’s a sense of been there, done that when watching it all unfold. All the time whilst watching it, I was thinking about Straight Outta Compton. A film which I know I shouldn’t compare to, but with the films being very similar in tone and genre, it’s hard not to compare to the highly successful NWA biopic. The bar has been set extremely high for any future rap biopics.

Disjointed at the best of times, All Eyez on Me struggles massively with its acting performances. With no big name attached to the project, the standard of acting falls incredibly short and lacks any kind of drama or emotional connection for the characters. Demetrius Shipp Jr, the actor that plays Tupac Shakur is extremely lucky that he is the spitting image of the late rapper. At times he does very well to express Tupac’s personality. Especially when rapping in the studios and on stage as he was an extremely flamboyant person. Arms waving, bouncing up and down on the spot, that’s what the actor does well but I almost feel like he’s let down. He’s by far the best thing about the film alongside Danai Gurira who plays his mother Afeni Shakur.

Understandably, the films length is just short of two and a half hours. I really hoped they could have made it a lot shorter and I honestly believe they could have. Telling the story of Tupac as I said earlier is an extremely difficult task, the best way forward is to concentrate on his rapping career as this the most important part of his life as a lot happens to him during this period of time. Additionally, having to take on such a mammoth task, you need strong director to challenge the quality of the script. Director Benny Boom has only directed two films before, both being straight to DVD movies. Straight away that has a cause for concern, the lack of quality the director has comes into the spotlight as it struggles to find its own identity. Scenes come across very similar to previous biopics on rappers and as I said before, all I wanted to do is watching Straight Outta Compton instead.

I know I’m not alone in saying all of this about the film. Even someone I know who is a huge fan of Tupac has pointed out many of the flaws that it possesses. Disappointingly, All Eyez on Me doesn’t do enough to warrant the re-watch ability that you would expect from a film like this. It should be an easy watch full of drama as it explores one of the more troubling stories in rap history. What it does instead is bore you to the point where you want to watch something else entirely. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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