‘Straight Outta Compton’ Is Dope (Movie Review)

Straight Outta ComptonFor the first time in a very long time I’m honestly not even sure where to start with this review.  I really 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, many controversies.  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.  However, one thing’s for sure.  Universal’s trailer for Straight Outta Compton knocks it out of the ballpark and reels you in, hook, line and sinker with what they put out their on display.  It looked like a biopic pic I could really get behind.  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.

Straight Outta Compton is directed by F. Gary Gray.  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.

Straight Outta Compton

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 virtually sucked me in and kept me invested throughout.  Having the audience rapping all around me and quoting famous phrases from their rap superstars in the theater was 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 features I have seen all year and it’s definitely in my “Top 5” at the current moment, but you know how it is.  Anything can change.  Gotta love that wildcard factor!

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 it was 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.  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.

Straight Outta Compton

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 important.  It promotes awareness for all of us too ignorant to realize or 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.  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 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 why that certain police song was written).  Who would have ever thought they could make superheroes out of N.W.A?  Not this guy!  Enjoy this one, but leave the kiddies at home.  Word to your mutha!

Straight Outta Compton Poster


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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