Straight Outta Compton: Unrated Director’s Cut (Blu-ray Review)

Straight Outta Compton (Blu-ray Review)This is a weird segue into this Blu-ray review and I completely understand that, but rest assured it serves a point.  Just mere weeks ago I was having a Skype meeting with some of the newer faces around here at WSB, Wes, Jerad, Shohan, Bron and Jordan, and I was kind of telling them about the perils of how I have seen people succumb to their demons and fail miserably around here.  However, after watching Straight Outta Compton last night I recall that Paul Giamatti’s character sums up what I was trying to say to them that night so much better so I kind of wanted to loosely transcribe what was said in the film because it not only applies to the life of a prominent reviewer, but also to anybody in show business.  He simply said too much ego, excess and expectations tend to ruin things.  Like Han Solo, I’ve been all across the galaxy of life and I can attest this is one crux humankind always seems to get hung up on, whether intentional or not, but I digress.  Yo Dre!  I got something to say!

I honestly never had any interest in the hip hop, rap musical group NWA even though I grew up with them during their rise and as a result, their many controversies they directly/indirectly caused in life.  I always thought their music was a bit too obscene and controversial for my tastes.  At least I knew my parents would have never went for it blasting throughout the house (they wouldn’t even let me listen to Prince).  However, one thing’s for sure.  Universal’s trailer for Straight Outta Compton knocked it out of the ballpark and reeled you in, hook, line and sinker with what they put out there on display.  It looked like a biopic pic I could really get behind.  That’s all it took for me to want to give it a chance theatrically.  Perhaps Ice Cube said it best when it comes to this film.  He said “I don’t know any other movie where you can mix gangster rap, the F.B.I., L.A. Riots, HIV and feuding with each other.”  Ain’t that the truth.  Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Straight Outta Compton…now making it’s Unrated Blu-ray debut.


Straight Outta Compton is directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, Law Abiding Citizen, The Italian Job).  Obviously, the film revolves around the rise and fall of the Compton, California’s rap, hip hop group N.W.A.  The film’s title borrows from the title of N.W.A’s 1988 debut studio album and chronicles the background history of the group, its members and the dynamics of their relationships with each other (feuding, friendship, business, etc.), from the band’s inception, to growing success and stardom until the eventual disbanding.  All good things must always come to an end, huh?  Ain’t that the truth!  However, I digress.  We’re here to chat about a movie and believe it or not the casting of this film wasn’t without controversy, but that’s a whole other can of worms to open.  Therefore, let’s just focus on the main cast which consists of O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Ice Cube’s son in real life), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E) and Paul Giamatti.

Coincidentally, since we were just talking about the cast anyway, they’re phenomenal.  The casting is spot on and the performances, minus Dr. Dre trying to cry, were equally amazing.  Now I might not be a rap or hip hop music aficionado, but the performances within here literally suck me in and kept me invested throughout.  Having salacious, mouth-watering rhymes abound is just the icing on the cake.  Yep, I think it’s safe to say, Straight Outta Compton keeps you engaged with dope rhymes, hooky music and an emotional tale from top to bottom.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s one of the greatest flicks I saw in 2015.

So where were we?  Oh yeah, man!  The story!  It’s dope.  Now I don’t know what was real and what was fictionalized, but the biopic style in how this is told was not only entertaining, but informative at the same time.  I oddly found myself caring about N.W.A, something I have never done before in my life despite being alive and witnessing all the events and controversies that surrounded the band, on television of course.  To keep it real, news clips such as the Rodney King beatings, verdict and resulting riots and various news stories aired back during the heydays of the band were intermixed throughout making the story grounded and of course relevant to the times and our lives (makes us feel old).  Like I said, I was enthralled throughout and invested in the story, with the exception of Paul Giamatti’s wig, which almost broke the suspension of disbelief.  However, I digress.  We’ll just take a half point off the film score for that one.  Haha.

Like the majority of tales involving great wealth, life in excess and power, all good things eventually must come to an end.  Look at the gangster genre, it’s no different.  While watching this film I remembered the infliction that took Eazy-E down in real life and I don’t want you to make no mistake about it.  It was very heartbreaking, even cinematically, to see this man so full of life, vigor, energy and motivation, seeking to reclaim his former glory and redemption, all the sudden succumb to the horrible disease that ultimately did him in.  However, let’s take a second to reflect.  As I said before, all good things must come to an end, yes, but let’s quickly look at the legacy of N.W.A, what they ultimately accomplished, the controversies they overcame and the success of the founding fathers of the group and what they eventually went on to do from Dr. Dre and Beats to Ice Cube and his movies.

N.W.A may not have made parents back then happy, but culturally they were needed in our generation to foster growth, prosperity and most importantly draw awareness and break down all the walls that create racial divides.  The latter perhaps was where this story shined most brightly.  As a white caucasian, I’m ashamed of my race.  And that’s all I’ll say on the matter.  Things were brutal for these guys.  B-R-U-T-A-L.  This movie makes you feel every blow, whether physical or just disgraceful.

It’s actually the tales of the racial abuse I just mentioned up above that make Straight Outta Compton relatively important.  It promotes awareness for all of us too ignorant to realize or too dumb admit to what was going on in the late 80’s out there (and probably still is).  It also gives us common folks hope that you can rise from nothing to something and it’s not about being born with a silver spoon always (despite what you see staring you in the face off Facebook everyday).  I don’t know about you, but give me a good tale like this any day.  The added bonus of the energy and the music video-like feel of it all coupled with the anarchy of the times/movements and the group’s soundtrack of life that started it all literally fueled this picture from beginning to end.  My entrainment of it allowed me to overlook some of the film’s slight flaws, again like Giamatti’s wig.  LOL.  Just joking!  But seriously, Straight Outta Compton is legit, the real deal and simply put, it just gets it right.  It shows just enough to get its point across without ever becoming too insensitive and obscene despite the subject matter, the music star behind-the-scenes lifestyle (parties, girls, etc.) and of course, the band’s very abrasive and harsh lyrics (now I know and completely understand why that certain police song was written).  Who would have ever thought they could make superheroes out of N.W.A?  Not this guy!  Word to your mutha!

Straight Outta Compton


  • Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
  • Layers: 50 GB Dual Layer
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: This one is a very hard one to grade because it’s intentionally warm and murky.  You must understand that it was shot entirely on the Red Epic so it doesn’t really have that cinematic feel to it.  The warmth of the track is meant to imitate the hot Southern California landscape, but this also slightly impacts the sharpness of the presentation.  Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot to compliment here from the fabric in clothing, stubble on face and the detail in the black baseball caps the supergroup employs.  It’s just that overall, it does not give you that crisp Blu-ray pop, but again, this is intentional.  Carry on…
  • Depth: Because the presentation has a more flat-like look to it because of the Red Epic digital conversion or whatnot, the depth of field isn’t what it always is where there’s a lot of impeccable detail.  However, it’s still there in arena and bus scenes so fret not.
  • Black Levels: Black levels are honest and accurate throughout.  It’s never completely dark and inky, but I won’t ding because of the warmth of the presentation as described above.
  • Color Reproduction: The colors are warm throughout.  I repeat, the colors are warm.  If i had to describe them I would do so as being sun drenched in yellow hues.  However, when the presentation wants to be, the colors pop with the utmost of vibrancy in scenes like Eazy-E’s wet party, the first N.W.A. album cover for instance and during concert performances with the lights, not to forget police sirens too.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones are accurate and lifelike throughout despite the warm nature of the color palette.  I have zero qualms here.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Because this is a digital captured presentation, there’s zero chance of anything nasty in this presentation and the proof is in the pudding here.

Straight Outta Compton


  • Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish DTS Surround 5.1, French DTS Surround 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics: The audio presentation here is both impressive and bombastic.  Wow!  You would think that since this is a character drama the soundstage would be inadequate or underpowered.  Think again!  There’s a sense of energy, yet precision in this track as everything happens for a reason and is well balanced throughout the soundscape here.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE kicks in whenever the hip hop jams and rhymes do.  It is magnificent and tear jerking at the same time.  Your booty is constantly moving in your seat the whole time here.  I have absolutely zero complaints!
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The surround channels are probably the most impressive here.  Honest to God, it felt like the subwoofer was coming through the rear channels.  That’s how incredibly engaged things are from onscreen action to the hip hop soundtrack of the film.  It’s infectious from the very beginning as over the studio logos the rear speakers are already filled with police sirens, helicopters and newscasts.  I love it, love it, love it!
  • Dialogue Reproduction: As you would expect from a billed drama film like this, the spoken dialogue is always loud, clear and easy to understand.  Ice Cube’s rhymes cut right through you like a knife.  You couldn’t ask for anything better.

Straight Outta Compton


There’s a lot to like about the extras of Straight Outta Compton.  How about for starters there are two version of the film here, a 2 hours, 27 minutes theatrical cut and a 2 hours, 47 minutes unrated director’s cut.  For those of you doing the math that’s like some twenty extra minutes or so.  I’ll be honest the movie is so gripping that I did not even really notice what was in those twenty extra minutes, but like always my failures to ID are not important and I digress.  So in addition to everything you see detailed and time stamped down below remember this, you’re also getting the unrated cut of the film in the Digital HD format, redeemable in both iTunes and Ultraviolet.  That’s worth the price of admission alone here for the Blu-ray package.  So let’s kick it down below and cross-examine all the goodies in more finite detail.

  • DELETED SCENES (HD) – There are a total of six deleted scenes here: Into The Recording Studio (0:16), Funeral (0:21), Pasadena City Jail (0:26), Nicole Visits Dre (2:38), Reunited (1:23) and Dre Gets A Call (0:36).
  • BECOMING N.W.A. (HD, 8:30) – Here we take an in-depth look at how the producers and F. Gary Gray tackled the challenging task of casting these larger than life creators of gangster rap.  This was a fun one as you have so many qualities in the casting process that you need to nail here to make this as authentic as possible.
  • DELETED SONG PERFORMANCE (HD, 1:30) – Here we have a bonus song not seen in theaters, “Compton’s N the House.”
  • N.W.A. THE ORIGINS (HD, 3:50) – No doubt about it, N.W.A. was a group that changed history.  So here we have Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, and many others talking about their start in the 80’s, how they came together and where it all began in this extra.  Sadly, this one should have been so much longer as this kind of stuff really interests me.  Great to see that Dr. Dre was on the set every day making sure it was authentic.
  • IMPACT (HD, 1:36) – An exploration of the impact N.W.A. and specifically their breakout album that changed everything.
  • DIRECTOR’S JOURNEY (HD, 3:22) – Utilizing a large amount of stand up interviews, we follow F. Gary Gray through the streets of Compton as he brings together the story of the founders of gangsta rap.  This one focuses on the 1992 riots sequence.
  • THE STREETS: FILMING IN COMPTON (HD, 6:03) – Take a look through the lens of Director F. Gary Gray as he perfected the authentic feeling of what it was like to walk the streets of Compton in Crenshaw complete with the cars of the time.  Ah.  This one so takes me back.
  • N.W.A PERFORMS IN DETROIT (HD, 4:54) – We go behind the scenes of what this performance meant to the original members of N.W.A. as they saw their lyrics spark controversy against the corruption of the police in Los Angeles, as well as the thoughts of the actors performing the song on stage for the movie.  I guess you can imagine what iconic song we’re talking about here in their memorable Detroit performance so brilliantly rendered in this film.
  • FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR/PRODUCER F. GARY GRAY – Gary pretty much touches on all facets of this production from the history, cast, performances, themes, music, technical details, the film’s reception and whatnot, but I can’t help wondering what an audio commentary would have sounded like with the surviving members of N.W.A. with their onscreen counterparts.  That would have been out of this world and truly pushed this category to a 5 out of 5.

Straight Outta Compton


With an 88% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and hailed by critics as, “an electrifying piece of hip-hop history that speaks urgently to right now,” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone), Straight Outta Compton bowed as the box office’s biggest R-rated August opening of all time and biggest musical biopic ever, grossing $60 million during its opening weekend and generating over $200 million worldwide to date.  So after arming you with all that knowledge, whatcha waiting for?  Whether you’re a fan or not of N.W.A. (I wasn’t going in), you know this one belongs in your home media collection.  It may be the greatest music biopic ever made (it is mine now).  So let me make it easier on you with an order link or two down below for you to kick around with your homies.  And oh yeah…you’re welcome!


Straight Outta Compton

Unrated Director’s Cut

Cuts The Rug on Blu-ray

Tuesday, January 19th!




Straight Outta Compton


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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