All Eyez on Me (R)

Musical 140 min. June 16, 2017
By Marcos Cabrera
All Eyez on Me was seemingly rushed into production once Straight Outta Compton's huge first weekend box office was announced. For fans of early-to-mid '90s rap, these movies represent a validation to the importance of the era and its biggest, most polarizing stars. But it’s too bad that the most soulless of the Hollywood tributes goes to the most compelling figure of that era, a self-proclaimed hell raiser whose bleeding-heart martyrdom defined a generation of thugged out activism.

All Eyez on Me suffers through a haphazard first act that speeds through Pac's childhood and early career. That’s coupled with director Benny Boom and the film's producers failure to surround their overwhelmed lead, Demetrius Shipp Jr., with co-star talent. Shipp Jr. resembles Pac so much he looks like he was spit out of a 3-D printer, but he's left to fend for himself throughout the film, with nobody to play off, a ridiculous burden for a young actor -- this is his first feature, and he has to embody an icon.

The real Pac's movies, songs, music videos, and interviews, document a charismatic, shape-shifting, soul-bearing miscreant powered by pure, uncontrollable energy. Simply put, Shipp Jr. fails to capture Pac's multiplicity. Director Benny Boom and his writing team seem most concerned with getting the minutiae right for die-hard Pac fans. They prioritize frame-for-frame re-creations interviews and videos to the detriment of storytelling.

The film finally slows down and settles on a pace when the story catches up to Pac's sex-abuse conviction. The build-up showcases All Eyez’s lone strength -- a willingness to deal head-on with what the filmmakers try to frame as Pac's contradictions but in reality was his hypocrisy.
Benny Boom Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, Annie Ilonzeh, Dominic L. Santana, Jamal Woolard, Keith Robinson, Lauren Cohan, Cory Hardrict, Grace Gibson Ed Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft Summit Entertainment

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