This Wikipedia-page biopic of Tupac Shakur races through the rapper’s Major Life Events without ever getting to grips with the glaring questions his story throws up. The bullet points are familiar: Tupac (played by eerily identical-looking Demetrius Shipp Jr) is raised by his Black Panther turned crack addict mum (Danai Gurira from ‘The Walking Dead’), hits the big time, beefs with Biggie (Jamal Woolard, who played the same role in 2009’s ‘Notorious’) and ends up dead in the passenger seat of rap mogul Suge Knight’s limo following a drive-by shooting.
This feels very much like the Shakur-estate-approved version of events: an essentially decent but desperately unlucky character, ’Pac just happens to be on scene during a shooting and he’s asleep while someone’s getting sexually assaulted next door. The latter incident is handled with a shameful lack of inquiry – Tupac even blames the system when he’s convicted. But at least ‘All Eyez on Me’ tackles misogyny at all, which is more than could be said for this film’s obvious inspiration, the NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’.
The filmmaking is solid, the performances strong and the tunes are pretty terrific. But this is too wary of controversy – and too ‘respectful’ of the fans – to treat its subject to the hard-headed analysis Tupac’s legacy deserves.