Demetrius Shipp Jr. and Kat Graham star in a scene from the movie "All Eyez on Me." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Codeblack Films)
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Radical politics and the wayward values of hip-hop culture take "All Eyez on Me" (Summit), a sometimes intense but overlong and rarely insightful biography of rapper Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.), off course.
Add to these elements a script so laden with obscenities that hardly a sentence of dialogue passes without a visit to the verbal gutter, and the film becomes endorsable for none.
Born into a family of Black Panther activists -- Danai Gurira turns in a powerful performance as his mother, Afeni -- the future singer and actor confronts the challenges of an inner-city childhood before gaining stardom. Afeni trains him to react to these circumstances partly by educating himself (he eventually becomes a Shakespeare aficionado) but also, more troublingly, through a revolutionary attitude apparently accepting of violence.
Beginning with these early scenes, the script -- written by Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez and Steven Bagatourian -- shows a lack of balance both in its wholesale sympathy for the Panthers and in its entirely negative portrayal of the police. It later depicts former Vice President Dan Quayle as a villain -- and a dunce -- for questioning the anti-law enforcement tenor of some of Shakur's lyrics.