Monday, February 29, 2016
“Straight Outta Compton”
I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.
I have to say that for a cast that was largely new to the acting world, these young men did a spectacular job bringing to life the various personalities that comprised the legendary rap group NWA.
O’Shea Jackson Jr. is a virtual clone of his father Ice-Cube. It’s been said he put years of work into portraying his father and the time was not wasted.
Corey Hawkins brought the Hip-Hop media mogul Dr. Dre to life with a great performance that personifies the various struggles and experiences that have molded him into the man he is today.
Jason Mitchell brought Eazy-E to the big screen and brought him back to life for the precious minutes he was on the silver screen.
There isn’t much I can say about Paul Giamatti that hasn’t already been said by anyone paying close attention to this great actor. He did a spectacular job portraying Jerry Heller.
In the mid 1980’s five young men (six really, but Arabian Prince went his own way very early) came together with aspirations of making music to make some money. They sought to express, through rap, their life experiences and the world they lived in daily.
After gaining some local success and notoriety, they hooked up with Jerry Heller in hopes of expanding their influence and building on the success they had thus far.
Not only did they build on their local success, they became one of the biggest names in rap music performing all over the country, bringing their controversial lyrics to sold out venues. They were so influential and inflammatory that the FBI sent them a letter of “cease and desist.”
Amid all the success and fame, inner turmoil takes root and what follows is a story that will have you glued to the screen as you remind yourself you are watching a re-enactment of true events…making what you see all the more astonishing.
I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and remember NWA very well as an influential force upon my life as their music helped shape me in my youth. There is no doubt this film takes some liberties with the storytelling and likely leaves a large part of their actual history out. In fact…I’m certain of it.
This film reminds us of the Rodney King case and sadly shows us that thirty years later the police are still conducting themselves in a way that has a large portion of the country questioning if they really are the good guys.
Of course there is no question that Suge Knight is not a good guy, but the portrayal of him by R. Marcos Taylor is outstanding and memorable. He was truly a menacing and deranged presence.
Speaking of presence…there was one that was missing. Although Aldis Hodge portrayed MC Ren in the film, I feel like he was never really there, primarily because the film excludes the gravity of his contribution to the success of NWA, especially in the years after Ice-Cube left. In all honesty, Ren was my favorite of the group and always had a memorable part in any song he was in and I loved his solo stuff (including his endeavors with CPO).
I was happy to see they at least included The D.O.C in the film, but with the snubbing of Ren, this film went from flavoring my tea with four cinnamon sticks….to settling for three and a half, out of five.
Rating 3.5 / 5