ALL EYEZ ON ME | REVIEW

Kernel Jack doesn’t mince words in decimating what he describes as a “piece of shit” that doesn’t deserve the moniker of movie haha. Savage! It appears this attempt at a of the man and the legend known as Tupac is an epic failure more suited to the Hallmark channel. But if you choose to punish yourself it is out now from Roadshow Films. It us rated MA15+ and runs for 140mins. Enjoy Jack’s anti-love review……all the best….JK.

BY

The life of Tupac Shakur should make for a great movie. He lived a dangerous, controversial life, constantly causing a stir wherever he went. His rap music inspired a number of up-and-coming artists, and the story behind his music is a brutal, often disturbing one. With the recent success of STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, another film about politically stirring rappers N.W.A, ALL EYEZ ON ME seemed like a no-brainer. If it could re-capture the magic of that movie, told through the perspective of another troubled individual, surely there’s greatness to be found. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. ALL EYEZ ON ME is what STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON could’ve been, had it been written and directed by Tommy Wiseau.

 

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ALL EYEZ ON ME SYNOPSIS:

Tupac’s story begins when he was just a kid, living life with a father who wasn’t there and a mother () who spent her time standing up for justice and equality. As Tupac () grows older, he moves on with his life and follows through with his aspirations of becoming a rapper. We follow his rise to success as he starts to make a name for himself, evolving into the rapper we all know him as. But his story is inter-cut with snippets from the future. Tupac, for reasons yet to be told to the audience, is in jail, being interviewed by a reporter (Hill Harper) who wishes to tell the world the untold true story of Tupac Shakur.

There’s really not a lot in the way of storytelling when it comes to ALL EYEZ ON ME. It’s basic and formulaic in its approach to a biopic, following his rise through the ranks, eventual downfall and attempts at a comeback. You don’t need to be a fan of Tupac’s music to appreciate what he did. The man was a revolutionary, using his lyrics and rhymes to raise awareness of subjects most considered controversial. He’s upset music producers, police officers, the general public and even the Vice President of the United States, yet he pushed through and made the songs he wanted to make, all while dealing with racist backlash. His story is remarkable, and deserves to be put in a movie leagues ahead of the absolute pile of shit that is ALL EYEZ ON ME.

SHOULDN’T BE CALLED A MOVIE:

This doesn’t even deserve to be described as a movie. It’s not. There’s no plot, no message, no characterization, no character arcs, no flow, no logical scene construction, no lasting consequences, and no enjoyment. I went in curious and hopeful, and left in an enraged state of annoyance. ALL EYEZ ON ME is pure trash. It shouldn’t be, but it is. The life story of Tupac practically spells out a movie adaptation. As a screenwriter myself, his journey is full of so many important and impacting moments to draw from. There’s so much he did that could’ve been put together in similar vein to STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, propelling this movie into masterpiece territory. Yet it does none of that.

 

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INCONSEQUENTIAL:

One of the biggest problems this film faces is that everything that happens is entirely inconsequential. Biopics that detail somebody’s entire life story, starting with their birth and leading all the way up until their death, work best when they’re trying to tell a story. The person’s life means something, and their struggle, while spanning many decades, has a lasting impact on the audience. So many films have done it well. You can tell someone’s entire life and make it meaningful, but ALL EYEZ ON ME doesn’t.

The screenwriters, whose previous credits include such masterpieces as GRIZZLY MOUNTAIN and STREET KINGS 2: MOTOR CITY, don’t know what sort of a story they’re trying to tell. They just figure if you throw in as much detail as humanly possible, a good movie will be found somewhere. It isn’t.

They rush from plot point to plot point, all of which are entirely unrelated to the scene that came before it. Tupac’s mum becomes a drug addict for all of five minutes, only to never have it brought up again. A reasonably large amount of screen time is dedicated to a rape case unjustly brought into Tupac’s life, yet once the scene’s done, nothing’s changed. Nobody comments on anything. It could easily have been used as a reoccurring theme to do with the inherent racism from officers of the law, but is instead tossed aside and soon replaced with slow motion shots of Tupac walking out of a plane with his songs blasting in the background. The writers hint at so many potentially great plot elements, only to skim past everything with the goal of getting back to another mind-numbingly shot concert scene.

 

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A FAN MADE FILM:

Often, ALL EYEZ ON ME more accurately resembles a fan made film you’d see on YouTube than it does a big budgeted Hollywood biopic. Don’t get me wrong, I love fan films. Fans are creative, and we need them to grow up and become the new generation of filmmakers, but a fan made film is a fan made film. They’re fun when you can watch them for free online, but if you have to pay to see them in a cinema, you’re not going to be happy. The writing, the directing, the cinematography and the set pieces all feel like they were put together and planned minutes before the cameras started rolling. I could’ve made a better looking film in the span of a long weekend than the filmmakers were able to do in however long it took them to make this unimaginably horrible movie.

There’s no flow to the editing. It’s cut in a weird, awkward way that constantly skims through time. The first act is overbearingly stimulating. There’s so much going on that it’s hard to follow, and each new scene opens with a big, obvious title card updating audiences on the location and time-frame, even if it’s changed by a mere month in the exact same city we were just in. It spells every single little detail out to the audience. Watching a film so tedious and dull is completely draining. You don’t care about Tupac’s rise to fame because he just all of a sudden becomes a rapper. In one scene he’s a nobody, in the next he’s out rapping on stage in front of thousands of people with little context as to why.

ACTING:

The chance to take on and act as a real life person is often the role of a lifetime for actors. They’re allowed to dig deep into their mindset and become the person they’re intimidating, yet nobody big is attached to ALL EYEZ ON ME. Why? Because it’s going to kill the careers of everyone involved. Every line is recited with intense stiffness, or if this isn’t the case it becomes over the top and larger than life.

I can only imagine that Demetrius Shipp Jr. was hired for his striking resemblance to the real-life Tupac, because it sure as hell wasn’t for his acting skills or singing ability. They don’t even use Shipp’s voice in the movie, instead having him lip sync real Tupac recordings. Shipp, and the whole film for that matter, finds his footing during the second act, where the screenplay decides to finally take its time in telling an actual story, but it doesn’t last long. Everything soon implodes, and the result is muddling.

 

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IN CONCLUSION:

Very little about ALL EYEZ ON ME can redeem the film. It’s one of the most boring, unfocused, inconsequential and poorly made biopics ever put on screen, made even worse through lackluster acting and awkward editing. The true story being told is fascinating, and should’ve made for an excellent movie, but the filmmakers involved butcher it every chance they get. They rely too much on Tupac’s success to pull them through, and even if the odd scene here and there works, it’s hard to describe this film as anything more than garbage.

 

 

 

YOUR CRITIC:

When he’s not spending an embarrassing amount of hours browsing through Netflix, Jack Dignan dedicates his time to reviewing movies of all genres and languages. He has done so since 2012. He also maintains a website of his own – www.directorscutmovies.com – and ever since their interview, he’s been best friends with Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino just doesn’t know it yet. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.