Benny Boom’s All Eyez on Me feels more like a TV movie rather than something that was released to theaters. The nearly two and a half-hour run time and some of the worst editing I’ve seen in a wide-release makes this film not worth even the biggest Tupac fan’s time.
As far as the cast and acting goes, it was refreshing to see pretty much all unknown actors cast in this film. Demetrius Shipp Jr., who played Tupac Shakur looked exactly like the real-life Tupac which was pretty incredible casting. Sadly, the acting in pretty much the whole movie was just mostly everybody chewing the scenery instead of giving any thing considered a proper rendering. Everything seemed much too dramatized for its own good. Something like subtlety in a movie exists for a reason. It provides grounding for some films and All Eyez on Me is an example of its importance.
This movie also suffers from showing too much rather than telling. Text shows up at the bottom of the screen to tell us the specifics of where we are. As if these chosen vignettes were taken directly from Wikipedia highlighting the life of Tupac. Flashbacks are shown to previous scenes in the movie at some parts which ruins all chances of being subtle. One character, who does not really look like Dr. Dre at all, has to be directly addressed as Dr. Dre by Tupac as a way for people to know who the actor is portraying. It is actually surprising how many storytelling errors this and The Mummy (2017) have in common sometimes, as both tell the audience directly too much information.
The editing so shoddily done too. Graphics used for news headlines look like something a film student put together quickly in Final Cut. We flash back, then flash forward, then flash back, and then flash forward countless amounts of times and all this does is just complicate the plot. The nonlinear way the story of Tupac’s life is told for a good part of this picture does not add anything except confusion. Also, at certain points in the movie, there is a poorly done slo-mo possibly for “dramatic effect” but it just comes off as lazy and unprofessional. Once this is used together with music to create a slo-motion music montage that almost seemed like it was bordering on parody.
Overly long, preachy, and melodramatic, All Eyez on Me is a dreadful music biopic that is edited in such a way that perplexes me. You could say that this could be worth watching for the comedic overacting of everyone as well as the by-the-numbers plot that most biopics seem to follow. But Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) does much better satirizing this genre then even something as bad as All Eyez on Me can do unintentionally.