Legends in the Hip Hop world – one could even go as far as to say the whole music industry, don’t come any bigger than Tupac (2Pac) Shakur. No doubt he is GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) or at least one of them. In addition to being a crazy movie fanatic, I’m an even crazier music fan, with the Hip Hop genre being one of my favourites. With all those elements considered, imagine my excitement when All Eyez On Me was first announced.
Ster-Kinekor hosted a pre-screening on the 21st June at 20:00 for a few lucky die-hard Tupac fans (myself included) at The Zone in Rosebank. The official release of the movie locally is booked in for the 30th June at select Ster-Kinekor sites*.
Cast – Demetrius Shipp Jr., Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper & Danai Gurira
Director – Benny Boom
Genre – Drama film/Biography
Running Time – 2h 20m
The film is based on the life story of a prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Amaru Shakur, from his early days in New York to his status as one of the world’s most recognised and influential voices. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mindset established him as a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his death that took place in Las Vegas, September 1996. The movie takes us on a journey from his humble beginnings to his eventual rise to notoriety, superstar status, his imprisonment and controversial time at Death Row Records
Titled after his 1996 fourth studio album All Eyez On Me, the movie stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac. The actor has an uncanny resemblance to the late rapper; you literally can’t tell the difference between the two. Watch Demetrius share how he prepared for his role below:
The movie also stars Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett – a best friend to Tupac from the Baltimore School for the Arts, Jamal Woolard as The Notorious B.I.G, Danai Gurira – Shakur’s mother (Afeni Shakur) and Jarrett Ellis as Snoop Dogg.
Producer LT Hutton said the movie shows all sides of Shakur, not just what the cameras wanted you to see. Because we weren’t there to witness Tupac’s life in person, we can only believe what the producer is selling us.
“We needed to know how Tupac became Tupac, who Tupac was, who he wanted to be and who he had to be to survive the world he was introduced to.”
Judging by what I read from various international reviews, I honestly thought this would not be a great watch with only a few good moments in-between. This again proves my point of why you should rather watch the film yourself and make up your own mind about it. I honestly can’t see what issues others had/have with this movie. All Eyez On Me is not perfect yes, but is it a good watch? Hell yeah it is.
Demetrius Shipp does a superb job of pulling off the character and, as mentioned before, the resemblance is uncanny – by far one of the perfectly placed and best cast actors in a role. Another standout actor from the movie is Danai Gurira who plays Shakur’s mother. Saying that she was outstanding is putting it very politely, the woman is intense and literally gives you goosebumps with her level of acting. She officially has my respect!
If there is any criticism from me it would be levelled at the movie’s length. Some of the scenes could have been cut or shortened, they linger longer than they should at times. Another thing I would have liked to see is more focus on Pac’s life in the early stages, not much emphasis was put on that in my view. It would have been great from an overall origins story. This shouldn’t be enough to put you off it though.
Overall, All Eyez On Me is a great movie and probably one of the best autobiographical films out there at the moment. In my opinion, they brought an icon to life in the perfect way. One of Hip Hop’s favourite sons who was larger than life at times. It gets a very cool 4 out of 5 rating from me.
Special thanks goes out to Ster-Kinekor for the invite.
* All Eyez On Me will be screened at Ster-Kinekor cinemas – Gauteng: Sandton, The Zone in Rosebank, Cresta, Maponya Mall, Eastgate, Southgate, Sterland, Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria, Mall of Africa in Midrand. North West: Waterfall Mall in Rustenburg. Kwa-Zulu Natal: Musgrave, Gateway in Durban. Western Cape: N1 City and Parow in Cape Town. Bookings are now open. For booking information visit www.sterkinekor.com and the Ster-Kinekor App.