You don't have to enjoy, or even tolerate, rap music to be intrigued by the content of Nick Broomfield's documentary "Biggie & Tupac." On an almost non-existent budget, Broomfield and a cameraman travel all over the country to try to solve the mystery behind the supposed gangland murders of rap superstars Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.
"Biggie & Tupac" is one of the gutsiest documentaries I have ever seen. Broomfield interviews many sketchy people all throughout the film, including crooked cops, gang members, among other undesirables in an attempt to draw a JFK-like connection between the murders of Biggie and Tupac. The movie starts to gain momentum once former police officer Russell Poole opens up, and declares that the police were involved in the cover-up of both deaths.
One person I came out gaining a lot of respect for was Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious B.I.G.). I always liked his music, but never cared for his antics outside a recording studio. The documentary helps to paint a positive image of Biggie, as his mother is quick to tell stories of how much he cared for her, and how his hometown fans paid respect for him after his funeral. The documentary did nothing for Tupac Shakur, as his family and friends were uncooperative with Broomfield, not even letting him use any of Tupac's music for the film.
To be fair, I must address my beef with "Biggie & Tupac." Broomfield is dead set on the idea that rap mogul Suge Knight is the mastermind behind the deaths of Tupac and Biggie, but wimps out when interviewing him in prison. In addition, Broomfield raises so many points that imply Knight and a crooked LAPD officer, that it's almost unbelievable how no arrests have ever been made in these murder cases. Ultimately, "Biggie & Tupac" is a thought-provoking film, but unfortunately, doesn't go as far as I hoped it would.
"Biggie & Tupac" is presented in Widescreen 1.66:1. The best way to describe the look of the movie is that it looks EXACTLY like a low budget documentary. The film is often grainy, certain scenes are not lit properly, and some colors seem a little off. I didn't expect anything of better quality, so I was more than content with the transfer.
The audio is presented here in Dolby 2.0. Though mostly dialogue, the 2.0 soundtrack does not take advantage of my system (not even when rap music is booming). Dialogue, most times, is clear and perfectly understandable. In the times its not, it's mostly because of improper use of microphones, not because of a shoddy transfer.
Interactive DVD menu with the following choices: "Play Feature", "Scene Selection", "Extra Features", and "Directors Commentary."
The first of the many extras on this DVD is a director's commentary by Nick Broomfield. Broomfield is often quiet, and will let a few minutes go by without even muttering a single word. When he does speak, he's not adding anything useful; and he also narrates the film itself.
"Additional Scenes" is a collection of deleted scenes that really don't do much to add to the documentary. Each is introduced by Nick Broomfield, and is presented in Full Frame. An "Interview with Nick Broomfield" is exactly what it sounds like, it's Broomfield talking about the documentary, how it came together, and things that happened while making it. The interview goes on for around 15 minutes.
"Additional Information" serves as a text biography for Tupac, Biggie, Knight, Poole, and other people interviewed for the documentary. Also included are "Discographies & Filmography", and information for the "Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation"
If you're a fan of conspiracy theories, than this documentary might be right up your alley. If you've enjoyed Broomfield's past documentaries ("Kurt & Courtney" and "Heidi Fleiss Hollywood Madam"), then you may want to check this one out. A decent supply of supplements helps push this review to "Recommended."