Directed by Lauren Lazin.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 11/21/03
I keep thinking that Tupac Shakur is dead,
but noooooo...he’s just rolling out his material more slowly now
that he is supposedly in the grave.
So, even though he’s been dead for six
years, we finally get a biopic worthy of his name, “Tupac:
Resurrection”...and, much to my surprise, the documentary of his
life is an incredibly effective film even if you were following his
career or into his music and know the details of his violent
demise. Told almost entirely in his voice, the MTV-produced film
uses snippets from previous interviews he did with a multitude of
sources, but mostly two interviews that Tupac did with Tabitha Soren
in the mid-90s. The voice cuts are interspersed with tons and tons
of video footage from his movies, his music, his music videos, his
interviews, court appearances...the list goes on and on.
Coming into this, I really thought that with
MTV’s backing and with the Shakur family backing, this was going to
be a puff piece that always went out to show that Tupac was this
hero-deity type that never did anything wrong, made the greatest
music ever, always treated women the right way. Man, was I wrong—I
enjoyed seeing the imperfections of the man, and hearing the man
himself talk about what he has done wrong, choosing to sometimes be
around the wrong people, saying the wrong thing, being wrong in
assaulting members in his line of work. Mix that, though, with all
of the things he has done for the rap world, and his incredible film
presence that paved the way for rappers like Mos Def, Ice Cube and
Treach to have a chance at making it in the world of films. There
is a great balance between Tupac’s influence on music and his
fans...there is interesting insight on his teen years, especially
his time spent at a performing arts high school in Baltimore, where
he met John Cole and Jada Pinkett Smith. Being a big fan of Digital
Underground, I loved the footage of Tupac’s big break, when he was
still rapping with the group that gave us “The Humpty
Dance”...seriously, every time I see Shock-G wearing the Hump nose
prosthetic, I can’t help but break out into maniacal laughter.
As with anything that has the Tupac Seal of
Approval on it, we get “new tracks previously unreleased” by the
dead artist; this is starting to become a comedy to me, because I
think he has somehow released like five albums since he died...this
guy has a vault of songs that still can’t be touched, and I think he
wrote almost all of them himself before being gunned down. The
movie briefly covers how this is even possible; my limited knowledge
of music tells me that producing and finalizing 24 songs in just two
weeks is damned near impossible, but Tupac and his recording buddies
had so much product that it was really quite easy to churn out music
at such a fast clip.
Add to all of this revelations like who
Tupac’s biggest influence in prison was, and you have a solid
documentary that really does show you the good and the bad traits of
its subject. Good times.
Rating: Opening Weekend
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard