"All Eyez on Me and the Subgenre"

By: Thomas A. Massaquoi

I recently saw All Eyez on Me the biofilm about rapper, activist, and poet Tupac Shakur and I was disappointed for five reasons but I also believe the film could have been better if a few areas would have been focused on. First, let me say my opinion isn’t exclusive of this disappointment. There is a large majority of fans, filmmakers, and critics that have panned the film. My buddy Colton and I both saw the movie and felt the same leaving the theater. Straight Outta Compton set a bar in terms of hip-hop biofilms and All Eyez on Me dropped it.

Five areas the film struggled.

1. The acting of the cast was not in sync. You could tell the chemistry of the cast was off. It felt like I was watching a TV movie and not a film about a polarizing figure in hip-hop.

2. The Plot was chronological but lacked real depth and direction. It just jumped to certain big moments of his life and neglected other parts or briefly touched on them over the course of roughly two hours.

3. The tone I believe didn’t fully embody Tupac. It was taken from the perspective of an interview he did in the 90’s about his life but I think as a storyteller the tone could have been packaged and told better.

4 Jada Pinkett’s character was given emphasis in this story from my perspective for less about their real relationship and more about her would be future star power and to me, that’s where the film failed again. 

5. The director Benny Boom has mainly done music videos and that is how the film felt. A long music video.

Opportunities.

1. I would have attempted to tie the film with Straight Outta Compton. There are so many figures of the era that knew him personally and were actually good friends with him that could have made this happen. I would have waited personally until this occurred. No need to rush something of this magnitude.

2. I would have focused on the period of Tupac’s life in youth and up to the point he might have or might not have wanted to leave Death Row Records and wrapped the film with real footage from the time of his death. 

3. The tone for me could have been better if it was made in the same taste as I Am Not Your Negro. Sounds confusing but I believe mixing his own words and the acting over the course of the film would have been interesting and different.

4. I would have examined who he was as thinker and person rather than just a rapper.  I think they stuck to his music but he was so much more and I think fans would have liked to see the other side of who he was.

In the end, the film I believe was more prepped for TV than film. Hopefully, in the future, we will get the opportunity to know the man and legacy of Tupac on film. For now, this is what we have and to follow the success of Straight Outta Compton it seems it left a lot of us disappointed but this is Hollywood so it’s likely we will get another shot.