Tupac: Resurrection

"Excellent"

Tupac: Resurrection Review


It's easy to forget that Tupac Shakur was just 25 when he was gunned down at a Las Vegas intersection in September 1996. In such a brief period of time, he lived a full life: rapper, movie star, convict, and cultural figurehead. That's quite a position for someone any age. I can't imagine how someone that young handles it.

The answer, according to Lauren Lazin's documentary Tupac: Resurrection, is you struggle. The movie is not a glorified big screen version of Behind the Music, but a thoughtful and smart examination behind the street swagger and angry posturing that makes rap music so hated and so popular. Through interviews, photographs, and other footage, Tupac tells his story. The longer he talks the more one realizes how familiar his story sounds.

And that is the movie's biggest, most important strength. There is a prevalent ignorance that rap musicians -- specifically gangsta rappers -- step right out of the ghetto or prison and into the recording studio. Everyone in the rap community should be shaking Lazin's hand right now, because through one special example she explains the importance and purpose of rap music in universal, human terms.

Growing up poor in New York, Tupac explains to an interviewer that he was a quiet boy who liked to read, write poetry and watch television. He tells the interviewer about how watching Dif'rent Strokes he realized that if he could act like Gary Coleman, he could escape his environment, at least for a short while. "If I could act like (him), I could have some joy," Tupac says.

In Baltimore, he attends a prestigious performing arts school (with Jada Pinkett Smith) and gets "exposed to everything." But his home environment has not improved. He still lives in a ghetto and bemoans the fact that his school isn't teaching him "how to live." So, he moves off to California, where he encounters more poverty, lives on the streets and gets his paternal influence from drug dealers.

The following few years sound like a rejected movie script. Tupac gets hired as a roadie for Digital Underground (the guys behind "The Humpty Dance"), shows enough skills to rhyme with the crew and through dumber luck gets a record deal. He releases his first solo album and gradually becomes a superstar.

Even though Tupac says he is just telling the truth in his songs about street life, the troubles start and escalate -- problems with cops, sexual assault charges and an 11-month jail stint, a near fatal shooting, the ensuing East Coast-West Coast feud, and the pressures of being a young man who is an icon among millions both black and white. And that's only part of it, as we see a young man struggle with himself and the persona he projects as a poetic tough guy. "I didn't create T.H.U.G. life," Tupac says of his mantra, adding that it describes the urban disenfranchised rather than an actual gangster or hoodlum. But with his escapades and association with music industry heavyweight and convicted felon Suge Knight, one got the impression that Tupac was in no great hurry to shrug off this misconception. The controversy and the image are popular, so why not embrace it? If it's one thing we learn about Tupac is that the man was smart, fiercely opinionated on social issues, and a smidge paranoid - he made to sure to record three songs a day because he felt his days were numbered.

These kind of psychological contradictions make Tupac: Resurrection so compelling. Even if you don't agree with the lyrical content of Tupac's songs, the movie gives an idea of what's behind those words. Take away the typical lush life or hard life images you associate with rap, and Shakur's struggles are common. He died still figuring out who he wanted to be, though most everyone else already thought they had a pretty clear idea.

The DVD includes commentary by director Lauren Lazin, Tupac's mom, and "surprise guests" (read: lots of rap stars), plus deleted scenes (er, isn't this entire movie composed of deleted scenes?), interviews, and other oddities like a five-minute deposition from 1995 and a 30-second diatribe against bootlegging, delivered by Tupac's mother and her lawyer.

Back in action.



Tupac: Resurrection

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 14th November 2003

Box Office USA: $7.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $7.8M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: MTV Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 69 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Himself (archive footage)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Advertisement
Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.