Tupac: Resurrection (2003)

reviewed by
Steve Rhodes

A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****):  * 1/2

Lauren Lazin's one-sided documentary, TUPAC: RESURRECTION, about murdered rapper Tupac Shakur, is one of the most shoddily-made documentaries in some time, with many scenes looking like fifth generation copies of bad videotapes and old photos. Even the clouds, which we cut to frequently, look like they come from a copy of a bad home movie. Only the shots of the Las Vegas neon glitter come close to the production values normally associated with a motion picture. The movie bears a superficial resemblance to another vanity piece, THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE, but the production values in that mesmerizing movie were dramatically higher.

Ignoring how bad it looks, what does it say? The overly reverential film, told almost exclusively through archival recordings of interviews with Tupac, tries to show him as a sweet guy. The film's imagery suggests that he was something of a god-like figure, offering us images of Christ on the cross. The movie is filled with cheap shots against his many critics.

A man arrested about a dozen times for crimes ranging from jaywalking to shooting people to gang rape, Tupac spent time in jail and in prison. He claims to be innocent of his crimes and throws all of the blame for them on "the system." At one point, he describes his philosophy as, "I am a thug, and I rap about the oppressed fighting back." When confronted with his crimes and actions, his response is, "I don't gotta be a role model." Between his songs that say otherwise, he tells us how much he loves and respects women.

The relatively mundane movie is chock full of little details about his life. He tells us that he lived here and then he lived there and that his father was in prison here. He says that he is especially proud of his mother's having been a Black Panther.

The film is for Tupac's dyed-in-the-wool fans only. And even they may be quite disappointed and downright bored as there is little singing but lots of mindless gabbing.

TUPAC: RESURRECTION runs a long 1:45. The film is rated R for "strong language and images of drugs, violence and sex" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

The film is playing in nationwide release in the United States. In the Silicon Valley, it is showing at the AMC and the Century theaters.

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