Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tupac Assassination : Conspiracy or Revenge The Director's Cut & Reckoning Special Edition

R J Bond's‘s two film look into the death of rapper Tupac Shakur is largely a very good investigation into what happened that night in Las Vegas. It’s good enough that it made me, someone who really didn’t care one way or another, interested enough to start digging around the internet to find out what else I could learn.

The premise of the films is that Suge Knight head of Death Row Records had Tupac killed because he was going to leave the label and start his own company. Knight, a man who wants everything to only go his way, is on record as having used violent means in order to maintain control of his empire. He was not to be questioned and would take great pains to make sure that you didn’t get a fair accounting or what you were owed ( for example after Death Row went bankrupt and was sold it was discovered that dozens if not more of the master tape recordings had been secreted away and hidden where creditors could never find them-only to turn up in odd places like storage lockers rented under assumed names) .

Taking the point of view that the shooting was an assassination and not a random act or retaliation for a non-existent East Coast West Coast war, the film lays out what happened and why. Small details like the bodyguards being told not to carry guns that night, the fact they were not given radios and the fact that the head of security had connections to the police investigating the murder are all examined. It’s a point of view that the director manages to pass on to his audience.

Or at least he manages to do so during the first of the two films called Conspiracy or Revenge. This 89 minute opus manages to say what has to say and then get off. It’s a breezy fast pace look at what happened that pretty much covers everything. Its so complete that when the film was done I couldn’t believe that there was a second film.

Hyped up because the first film was so good I popped the second film into the DVD player as soon as I was done. In it’s current state Reckoning is a disappointing film. Covering some of the same ground as the first film this second film adds depth to what was going on between Tupac and Death row and it makes it clearer why he was shot. Sadly the film also has much too much footage of Tupac behind the scenes at video shoots and rehearsals, it also talks about what Tupac was trying to do on a personal level to improve the lives of some people. What purpose the material serves beyond filler is lost to me. Yes, its great to see and hear about what a great guy Tupac was but it doesn’t really say a whole hell of a lot about the matter of his murder. There is probably an hour of relevant material out of two hours and had it been released at that length, or better yet folded into the first documentary you’d have a truly powerful document. As it is the second film is just okay while the first one is Oh Wow.

Definitely worth seeing, especially if you're a fan of true crime, I would say that the best thing to do is see the first and skip the second, but they are out from Mill Creek for a round five bucks together so its worth picking them both up and trying them.

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