Former friends, rivals, and hip hop icons Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. were both murdered in drive-by shootings in the space of less than six months between September 1996 and March 1997 at the ages of just 25 and 24 respectively and in the decades since, their deaths have been the subject of a thousand conspiracy theories.
We’ve seen them get the biopic treatment in All Eyez on Me and Notorious, both of which featured the other as supporting characters, but we’re now getting a crime thriller focused on the investigation itself. City of Lies is finally receiving a VOD release next week, having sat on the shelf gathering dust for years.
On the outside it has all the makings of a prestige picture, with director Brad Furman having proven himself more than capable of helming polished thrillers thanks to his work on The Lincoln Lawyer, Runner Runner and The Infiltrator, while Johnny Depp takes top billing as retired LAPD detective Russell Poole, and Forest Whitaker lends support as the dogged journalist assisting the investigation.
However, filming on City of Lies wrapped in May 2017 and it’s been stuck in cinematic purgatory ever since for a number of reasons. The movie was supposed to open in September 2018 but was pulled from the schedule due to an ongoing lawsuit between Depp and the production’s location manager, although there were wild rumors that it was also being suppressed after implicating the police in Biggie’s murder.
It did score a limited theatrical release in Italy almost three years ago, but City of Lies is now being quietly shuffled onto the VOD market on March 19th, where it might still be able to generate some interest among either Depp supporters or rap enthusiasts.