Entrenched in the racial tumult of Los Angeles in the mid-1980's, a group of aspiring rappers banded together to revolutionize the global consumption of hip-hop and popular culture. NWA was born out of racial frustration and the disadvantaged economics of their South Central neighborhood. F. Gary Gray directs this biopic about the rise to stardom for the act that earned the moniker of "The World's Most Dangerous Group", featuring Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson Jr. playing the role of his father, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, and Jason Mitchell as the late Eazy-E. ~ Daniel Gelb, Rovi
Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: Corey Antonio Hawkins, O'shea Jackson, Jr., Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown, Jr.
Release Date: Aug 14, 2015
Rated: R Language Throughout, Drug Use, Strong Sexuality/Nudity and Violence
Runtime: 2 hr. 27 min.
F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton is a thoroughly engaging if imperfect musical biopic. It hits all the standard notes for this type of film with some of the moments coming off as manufactured or inauthentic. It’s not a massive flaw but noticeable. Thankfully an impressive ensemble cast carries the film with strong performances throughout with O’Shea Jackson Jr. making the biggest mark for his uncanny impression of his father. Paul Giamatti is saddled with the role of the shady business manager and manages to give the role a bit more depth than expected. The story itself might be familiar to some and totally foreign to others. Either way it’s an interesting story that’ll keep you engaged as we watch the rise of gangster rap and its evolution. The problem the film faces is that there are so many storylines that it does occasionally feel unfocused. In the final act, Gary doesn’t quite seem to know where to end the story as we proceed through a travelogue of the 90’s. It would have benefited from some trimming to make it a more efficient film. That being said Straight Outta Compton is a strong film that feels terribly timely as well.