Rating: R for language, violence, sex, drug use
Run Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Tupac Shakur is the controversial gift that keeps on giving. Since his untimely death from a bullet wound in 1996, the divisive rapper has become a global icon, inspiring books, poetry, films and records.
Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, this charismatic leader became an icon of radical chic. Between jail terms for assault and battery and sexual assault, Tupac released angry recordings (“2Pacalypse Now”, “All Eyez on Me”) rife with explicit lyrics about cop-killing, sexual exploits and misogyny.
foot in the gutter and the other planted firmly in a world of fame and fortune,
Tupac was a conflicted soul whose songs were a battle cry to
“Tupac”s documentary style is loosely based on last year’s Robert Evans tell-all “The Kid Stays in the Picture”. TV clips, old photographs (given the 3-D treatment), music video and a smooth Tupac voice-over are infused with a snappy energy and impending doom.
I have a grudging admiration for Tupac’s cause; his sensitive warrior stance and me-against-the-world obstinacy. “Tupac” skims the worst of the violence and the legal altercations, but allows its subject’s fury over the injustice of it all (“Stop trying to beat us down!”) to flow freely. An unfortunately cheesy climax suggests that Tupac continues to ply his trade from the heavens.
Valentine or propaganda? No matter how you swing it, “Tupac” is an energetic introduction to the Godfather of Gangsta.