Written By: Nick Poulimenakos
The biopic is genre that is rarely done right. You have films such as Straight Outta Compton where it’s a home run. But then you have other films such as Notorious where it’s just a mess. All Eyez On Me is the newest musical biopic to hit theatres and it follows the life of Tupac Shakur aka 2Pac. So, what are critics saying about this film? The answer: It’s not good…
All Eyez on Me currently sits at a 24% rotten rating based on 21 reviews. It ranges from the film being a mess to having solid performances. Let’s see what critics are saying!
Stehpen Dalton from The Hollywood Reporter:
All Eyez on Me is billed as the “untold story” of Tupac Shakur, but there is nothing here that you could not glean from reading a few decent archive interviews while reeling through his greatest hits on YouTube. No shock revelations, no informed speculations, no fresh insights into his still-unsolved murder. Shipps and Gurira will go onto greater things, but it seems we will have to wait for 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen’s mooted documentary on the rapper for a more granular, grown-up portrait. However mighty his talents, however deep his flaws, Tupac deserves a more comprehensive screen memorial than this.
Robert Abele from The Wrap:
Even the late-stage introduction of Quincy Jones’ daughter Kadida (Annie Ilonzeh, “Empire”) as a redemptive romance rings hollow: she’s the calm before the storm of violence on the Vegas strip, nothing more. Twenty years since his bullet-riddled demise, Tupac Shakur remains a fascinating figure in the history of a convulsive, demonized, glorified and influential music movement. But “All Eyez On Me” is strictly the cheap greatest-hits package when what its subject warrants is the deep-cuts boxed set.
Barry Hertz from The Globe and Mail:
Spoiling Shakur’s legacy is one thing – plenty of musician biopics have squandered can’t-miss opportunities; I’m looking at you, Get on Up and Beyond the Sea – but All Eyez on Me is doubly disappointing in that it also wastes the considerable talents of its leading man. Demetrius Shipp Jr. is blessed with an uncanny resemblance to Shakur, and he’s lived most of his adult life being told so: he first auditioned for the role in 2011, before the film fell into development hell.
Owen Gleiberman from Variety:
“All Eyez on Me,” the messy, hugely flawed, but fascinating biographical drama that has now been made about him, channels those contradictions, even if it doesn’t always know what to do with them. Comprehensive but sketchy, richly atmospheric but often under-dramatized, it is not, in the end, a very good movie (there are a few scenes, like Tupac’s initial meeting with Ted Field of Interscope Records, that are embarrassingly bad). Yet it’s highly worth seeing, because in its volatility and hunger, and the desperation of its violence, it captures something about the space in which Tupac Shakur lived: a place that wanted to be all about pride and power, but was really about flying over the abyss.
Kate Erbland from IndieWire:
The film unfolds with bare-bones production values that at times work in its favor (musical performances that play out on literally small stages feel intimate, for example), but other moments feel distractingly TV movie-like, including Boom’s propensity for going slo-mo during important moments. Yet, as Tupac’s final moments approach — send Tupac Shakur to Las Vegas for a Mike Tyson fight in the middle of his outspoken issues with Bad Boy and others, and you know what’s happening next — Boom’s film finally hits its stride, satisfyingly blending Shipp’s performance with video of the actual Shakur in his final moments, unknowingly charging forward to tragedy.
As the film winds down, Boom ratchets up the tension, and when the fateful bullets are finally fired, it’s hard not to hope for a different outcome. It’s also hard not to hope for a better film to give them the context they deserve.
Edward Douglas from IGN:
You may need to already have at least a tangential interest in Tupac Shakur in order to appreciate All Eyez on Me, because it starts off in such a traditional way and rather meekly. For non-fans, it might be tough to get through the movie’s first hour and to the “good stuff” contained in the second half. On the other hand, Demetrius Shipp Jr. gives it his all with an impressive performance that’s far more than just an impression. It’s doubtful Shakur’s fans will feel like they wasted their time by watching this movie.
Roger Moore from Movie Nation:
“All Eyez on Me” is a too-tidy/too-pat musical biopic that sheds light on the messy, provocative and watershed life that was Tupac Shakur, rapper, rebel and would-be revolutionary.
Overlong, more solid than inspiring, it makes a good go of illustrating just how much fame, music and controversy the man squeezed into 25 short years. It demands a lot of screen newcomer Demetrius Shipp, Jr., asking that he recreate the charisma of this rap and acting icon, too much. The screenwriters and director are often hellbent on presenting Tupac’s story the way he himself would have told it.
So what do you think? Are you going to see All Eyez on Me this weekend? Comment below and on social media and for all things in nerd culture and entertainment, keep it locked on Talkies Network!