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Tupac Resurrection

Paramount // R // November 14, 2003
List Price: Unknown

Review by Megan Denny | posted November 14, 2003 | E-mail the Author
TuPac Resurrection

TuPac Resurrection tells TuPac's life story from birth through his murder in 1996. To call it a "Behind the Music" style documentary wouldn't exactly be correct because the film isn't particularly objective. As the tagline says, the film is "TuPac, in his own words." Using interviews from sources such as MTV and The Arsenio Hall show, TuPac's home movies and family photographs, the film creates a portrait of a young man who had a tough life but truly wanted to make life better for people from poor communities. TuPac Resurrection is unlikely to interest someone who has no familiarity with TuPac Shakur, but it's worth a matinee admission or rental for a fan or someone with a slight amount of curiosity.

I only knew a little bit about TuPac going into the film and while I wouldn't consider myself a big fan, I certainly recognize that TuPac was a talented individual. After a cheesy opening sequence with images of light streaming through clouds, I found myself fairly engaged in his history.

Interestingly, TuPac didn't have a criminal record until he released his first CD. He accuses the police of targeting him because of his lyrics which describe corrupt policeman as the enemy of poor people. TuPac would continue to face legal trouble throughout his career and, though he never admits fault, in some circumstances he makes a fair case for his innocence.

The film only briefly addresses the conflict between TuPac and Biggie/ Puffy and the East Coast/ West Coast "rap wars." A wise choice considering a thorough documentary on the subject has already been produced (Biggie and TuPac). Basically, TuPac says Biggie and Puffy betrayed him, and the Rap Wars were something the media came up with to increase ratings and sell newspapers.

TuPac's most interesting comments are concerning the tendency of rap music to glorify poverty and violence. He describes how his music is only meant to reach poor kids in the ghetto and to tell them that their life is worth something and there is someone out there who understands what they're going through. He says middle-class white fans are just a by-product and treat his music as a fad. TuPac is happy to have them as fans, but says it's more important to him to make a connection with a young kid in the ghetto to whom life seems hopeless. TuPac goe son to explain his philosophy of "Thug Life" (the famous tattoo on his stomach). He says the concept of Thug Life, is about standing up for oneself and fighting for freedom of mental, social and economic imprisonment. TuPac even corresponded with "OG's" (old gangsters) in prison and created a code of Thug Life which details do's and don'ts for being a righteous...thug.

The film really gives you an idea of how TuPac viewed the world and what motivated him. He took life very seriously and comes across as a philanthropist more than anything else. Some of his views on women (aside from his devotion to his mother) are a little disconcerting, but at least the man is honest about his views and doesn't censor himself or suck up to the interviewer.

I still question whether the man is actually dead. TuPac has released seven CDs since his murder in 1996. The film doesn't do much to dispel the idea that he might still be alive, and there are a few lines in the film where I wondered, "Where did they get this all-too-perfect sound bite?" Regardless of whether TuPac is alive or dead, TuPac Resurrection serves his memory well.

-Megan A. Denny



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