Projections - Movie Reviews

Tupac: Resurrection

Tupac Shakur
Starring Tupac Shakur

There's a poetic, revelatory justice to the short life of rapper turned actor Tupac Shakur in the introspective documentary, Tupac Resurrection. It isn't just a polished version of another one in the genre charting the rise and fall of the man shot down in 1996 after a Mike Tyson prizefight at Vegas. This "self-portrait" looks perceptively, even without judgment into ambition, violence, redemption and love.

The feeling of the narration at the outset has a spookiness to it as Tupac says "This is my story." He confesses that "I always knew I was gonna be shot." Whatever ghostly presence is felt in some of his fears (seen often stronger than love), the film goes beyond the violence visible in his music. Resurrection lets us in to many of Tupac's MTV interviews with Tabitha Soren during the height of his popularity. MTV Vice President Lauren Lazin produced and directed the film that personalizes the angst of someone whom perceived as an angry, turbulent artist.

Lazin collaborates confidently with Tupac's mom, Afeni Shakur, who served as executive producer. She helps with the rich archival materials from letters, still photos grainy home movies and poetry he wrote as a kid. Her influence was a strong one on a man who would be arrested for assault and created expressions of activism like "2Pacalypse Now." Afeni, a political activist herself with the Black Panthers and a crack addict, was pregnant with Tupac while in jail.

This informative cinema verite moves from the Bronx, Marin County to Hollywood with stops in the studio and the Clinton Correction Facility where he served time afer being convicted for sexual abuse. His harsh rap against society's ills provoked controversy with the likes of Pat Buchanan, Bob Dole (seen in a Gerald Ford stumble), and black women speaking out against his lyrics and music.

Not much insight is given into Tupac's relationship with fellow rapper Biggie Smalls (Notorious B.I.G.) Who was also murdered and the motives for their homicides. Eminem (8 Mile) helps out Afeni and Lazin by producing "Runnin' (Dying to Love)" that joins the two in a reunion sure to please fans.

Lazin doesn't intend to agitate or cause controversy as her documentary has the aura and charisma to captivate beyond the urban demographic. Many may not know of this TV aspirations or studying of ballet and music (a schoolmate of Jada Pinket in Baltimore's School of Performing Arts). By this Resurrection, Tupac unveils how life can dangerously imitate art. There are many hedonistic glimpses of a man who often enjoyed what came with his sudden rise to fame. Lightening things up is footage from his early days on stage almost like a black Jim Morrison, behind the scenes with Janet Jackson, and his internalization of characters in movies like Juice. His "thug life" stood for the underdog and the empowerment of those like him who understood the community of homelessness and poverty.

It's clear that Tupac never really had the important male figure he needed to steer him away from drugs and violence. The pain can never go away for those closest to him and his music, but the sting will be diminished through this atypical perspective of a man ironically influenced by Don McLean, A Raisin In The Sun and Shakespeare.

Tupac: Resurrection

Back to Home

Home | Search | Reviewer Bios | Links | Mail Us
Copyright © 2005 Projections