‘Last Man Standing’ Review: Revisiting a Murder (and a Murder Doc)

In “Last Man Standing,” subtitled “Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie & Tupac,” the British documentarian Nick Broomfield tries to tie up loose ends from his “Biggie and Tupac” (2002). That movie presented an unproven conspiracy theory that the rap mogul Marion Knight, widely known as Suge, was involved, along with corrupt police officers, in the 1997 shooting death of Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, in Los Angeles, and the 1996 killing of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas. (Broomfield appears to tacitly roll back that claim in the new film, which gives a different emphasis to the events surrounding Shakur’s death.)

The first doc’s dubious evidence was questioned, and Knight has long denied any involvement in the killings. But the idea behind “Last Man Standing,” Broomfield explains, is that with Knight now serving a 28-year prison sentence, people are more open to talking. Much of “Last Man Standing” plays like outtakes. There’s some kick in hearing that Knight apparently kept piranhas and fed them bloodworms, or in seeing footage of a pre-stardom, 17-year-old Shakur, the son of a Black Panther, discussing how the rich and the poor should change places every week.

But the new movie is less cohesive than “Biggie and Tupac,” and Broomfield is not suited to documentaries with willing subjects. His trademark is appearing on camera and demanding answers with an obnoxious Fleet Street persistence. By contrast, the talking heads and blank backgrounds here are pretty dull, although it is amusing when Pam Brooks (returning from Broomfield’s “Tales of the Grim Sleeper”) insists to a wary party on the phone that the director can’t be an ex-cop because he’s English. “Last Man Standing” is backloaded; its efforts to counter an alternative theory of the case come mainly toward the end.

Last Man Standing
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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