Hot Take: SEE IT!
All of our heroes need a well told origin story. With Straight Outta Compton, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Antoine “DJ Yella” Carraby and Lorenzo “MC Ren” Patterson have theirs.
“Heroes” might not be the best description for the men that formed N.W.A (although the movie does it’s best through some strategic omissions to support the “hero” narrative) but pioneers of gangsta rap, champions of free speech and rags-to-riches successes are indisputable.
“Spoiler Free” Pros:
- Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E
While the group is the star, Mitchell stands out as Eazy. Unlike Dre (especially) and Cube (played by his son), Mitchell’s portrayal of Eazy felt more like a depiction rather than an impersonation.
- The soundtrack and the iconic song origins
Growing up as a fan of the group and the hip hop genre in general, these moments were the most memorable. The N.W.A/Ice Cube beef retelling makes the Drake/Meek Mill rap beef look like preschool.
- Overall restraint
It would have been easy to “go Hollywood” with the storytelling but, outside of its omissions, the writers and director (F. Gary Gray) do an excellent job of avoiding overindulgence throughout Straight Outta Compton.
“Spoiler Free” Cons:
At 146 minutes, the movie peaks too soon and limps to the finish. I don’t think there’s anything the movie would benefit from being left out but there’s a definite moment of viewer fatigue in the last 30-40 minutes.
- The need for justification
Compton doesn’t paint the characters as virtuous but it does go out of it’s way to insure that any action lacking virtue has something our “heroes” can pin on the target.
- Strategic omissions
Remember the time Dr. Dre assaulted television host Dee Barnes at a record industry party after her interview with Ice Cube at the height of their beef? Don’t worry, Compton won’t remind you.