I don’t care if you’re a Crip walking, bickin’ back bein’ bool, or just chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool. You NEED to get to a theater as soon as possible: Straight Outta Compton is, by far, the best film I’ve seen in a very long time…
I went in to the theater not knowing very much about the story of the legendary hip-hop group, N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes). I went into the theater a bit concerned about the acting ability of the stars. My mentality was, just because they look and sound like the artists they portray, doesn’t mean they can act. I mean, I’ve been scarred and conditioned to be doubtful after the trainwreck they called Notorious.
However, Straight Outta Compton completely changed that.
Everything about this movie is great. The writing, the cinematography, the acting, the casting, the story. EVERYTHING! Sorry to yell, but you have no idea how refreshing it is for the Deacon E to see a film of this caliber. There is power in every scene. Every scene is powerful. You can feel the struggle of living in the hood (especially in the very riotous nature of early-90s Los Angeles), the determination to find a way out, the immense pressure of police harassment.
In SOC, you are completely immersed in the lives of N.W.A and taken for the wild ride that was their rise to fame and the Aftermath of the success. The performances were so impressive, I thought little known actor Corey Hawkins (Non-Stop, Iron Man 3) was actually the son of the mothafuckin’ D.R.E. Of course, there’s no mistaking the man playing Ice Cube, as it’s none other than (co-producer) Oshea Jackson’s son, Oshea Jackson Jr. The likeness is daunting — and OJJ def. captures his daddy’s whole “goin’ for dolo” vibe — to say the least.
And what better way to research a role than to literally spend you entire life with the person you are portraying?
Also great was Jason Mitchell (Contraband, Broken City), who must have been so impressive at auditions, he literally snatched the role from Eazy-E’s own son, Lil’ Eazy (who’s another splitting image of his papa). Mitchell does a deft job at capturing the late gangsta rapper’s conflicted persona. Aldis Hodge (Leverage) and Neil Brown Jr. (Fast & Furious) round out N.W.A as MC Ren and DJ Yella, respectively, but they are as underused as the real life artists they portrayed.
More important to the film than just appearance, SOC avoids the use of exaggerated West Coast accents and over-dramatized culture typically portrayed in films of this genre, opting for more of the natural. The persona of each character is unique and true to life (even peep Keith Stanfield‘s on-point Snoop D-O-double-G!). So much so, that I have a freshly renewed fear of Suge Knight (R. Marcos Taylor) and a new respect for Ice Cube. Always knew Dre was a genius–so no change there.
The Negotiator and Friday director F. Gary Gray‘s SOC follows the fairly distant heels of other modern Rags-To-Rap Riches stories like Eminem’s 8 Mile, 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Biggie’s Notorious, and I suppose I’ll include the Grammy Winning Hustle & Flow, too. Either way, this completely shits on every single one of them.
Other than GTA V, I don’t think I have ever given a maximum score to anything else I have reviewed at GHG. However, with the surviving members of the group being so closely involved in the making of this film, there is absolutely no way this movie could be any better. Hell has frozen over. Pigs are flying. Esko is completely impressed. Allow that to sink in for a sec. Then get your ass up and go see this movie.
Universal’s Straight Outta Compton in theaters now.