(Tupac's affinity to Shakespeare, with all its incipient “who-da-thunk it?” classism, gets brought up at least five more times.) The density of clichés achieved here runs the risk of one-upping Jake Kasdan's 2007 biopic parody Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
In record-shattering time, Tupac rewrites his political consciousness to fit his superstardom, falls out with Afeni, and finds himself indeed against the world: revolutionaries, racist cops, fame whores and thunder-stealers, and eventually his old friend Biggie Smalls (Jamal “Gravy” Woolard, reprising his turn from 2009's Notorious).
The bulk of the narrative takes place between 1993 and 1996, when Tupac went to prison for his complicity in a rape which the film insists he wasn't okay with, and left Interscope—the scene of a brief, MADtv-worthy boardroom discussion about censorship—to join Dr.
Tupac's final moments at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas are almost comically belabored: As he prepares to reclaim the honor of an insulted member of his posse, his girlfriend, Kidada Jones (Annie Ilonzeh), begs him not to go—and when he does, she looks through the peephole before he then wavers, turns back, then recommits to his decision.
Like a hundred others, he's a singular artist co-opted by the people surrounding him, and as with near-every other musician biopic, you'll learn more about the subject by staying home and listening to the records.