Before going into this movie, I wasn't a die hard fan of Tupac Shakur, but I enjoyed much of his music as well as the majority of the films he acted in prior to this death. Upon hearing about a biography on the complexed singer being made, I held optimism that it would be entertaining and do the main figure justice. The 2009 Notorious movie was decent but not a great film, it entertained and did what it was supposed to, but lacked the extra punch and dedication to make it a great biography. With All Eyez On Me, the expectations were high for the filmmakers to deliver not just a fitting biography, but one that is also thought-provoking and reflects on the kind of person Tupac was and the legacy he left behind. The trailer for the film was promising with the main actor spawning an uncanny look much like the actual real life figure, giving the audience the feeling that something special is in the making as the filmmakers clearly aspire to have the same type of box office and critical success like 2015's Straight Outta Compton achieved. One went into this movie with great skepticism after hearing all of the bad reviews it received with comments ranging from being inaccurate to feeling meshed together with no heart. Having seen All Eyez On Me, I can safely say that the film is completely deserving of all the negative reviews it's received.
Despite the film being mildly entertaining, the movie is a huge disappointment for fans of the late singer who wanted a biography that gave a more complexed view of Shakur. All Eyez On Me is a biography that looks good on the outside but on the inside, it lacks the ambition, the heart, the courage, and determination to tell what should've been a more gripping story. This biography is not only by-the-numbers, but it rushes through it's timeline and main events of the rapper/actors life to the point where the editing feels choppy and borderline messy. It isn't the fault of the main actor as Demetrius Shipp Jr. turns in a likeable performance as Tupac Shakur, but the material and environment he's surrounded by feels completely uninspired and lacks true vision. The film feels like it was made with the purpose of making a financial profit rather than adding to Shakur's legacy. The films shallow surface fails to allow Shipp to capture the complexed personality of Shakur nor portray the true depths of his talent. The film forcibly races through the rappers major life events like reading through his biography on Wikipedia, that the film never bothers to take moments to try and explore the personal side of Shakur nor ask questions about him. That easily becomes the biggest tragedy of the film as the movie runs with a running time of almost two and a half hours but it never truly gets to know the man that inspired the biography. If anything, the movie does more harm to Shakur's legacy than preserve it by not capturing his charisma and complexity both as a musician and actor. Subplots such as the one involving him confronting his mother whose revealed to be doing drugs is briefly touched upon then dropped as the movie jumps from one timeline to the next without hesitation. Shakur's character never truly feels like he has an arc in the story or something the filmmakers can build up to outside of the obvious climax that everyone whose familiar with his name knows comes at the end. The moments where the filmmakers show glimpses of Tupac's career both as an actor and a rapper will provoke nostalgia for those who grew up witnessing his rise to stardom in the 90's, but that also feels like desperation on the filmmakers part to appease his fans by saying "here, we showed you this part of Shakur's life. Happy? Might as well be, now lets move on." The films main crime in regards to entertaining it's audience is it lacks a true sense of sincerity with the overall project as the film doesn't care so much to really get into the head of it's main figure but rather to cash in on the nostalgia effect of his songs and key life events without regard for anything else. That in retrospect is a shame because such a controversial character like Tupac Shakur deserves a film as well as a filmmaker that not only gives the audience doses of their earlier memories of Shakur but to also give and answer questions that people may have in regard to his life outside the public eye.
All Eyez On Me is not a terrible film but it's far from being the film that it could've been. On a technical aspect, the film was well shot and feels like it's structured to be very similar to Straight Outta Compton in hopes of being a similar type of critical and box office smash. If that was the filmmakers intention to duplicate the same type of response with this movie, then they failed as the movie not only was critically panned by major newspapers and critics but it dropped a nasty 78 percent in it's second weekend at the US box office after a strong 27 million opening. One could only imagine what this films legs at the box office would've been like had someone along the lines of John Singleton directed it with a much stronger script for Demetrius Shipp Jr. to really dig deep into. All Eyez On Me is one of the greatest movie tragedies of 2017 not because of what it ended up being as a movie, but what it could've been had the movie been given greater care by its filmmakers and actually had a heart. The film lacks a soul and never once tries to be bold or brave with it's presentation. For fans of Tupac Shakur or those who wish to know more about the legendary rappers life, they should skip this film and watch a surprisingly good documentary titled Tupac Resurrection. That film is more satisfying of a biography than this movie which is sad to admit but true. As Siskel and Ebert would say, two major thumbs down.
5 out of 10