Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how five young cultural rebels – armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent – stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A. And as they spoke the truth that no one had before and exposed life in the hood, their voice ignited a social revolution that is still reverberating today.
Based on the true story revolving around the forming and subsequent rise to fame of the infamous rap group N.W.A and its founding members, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ follows core members Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella and the late Eazy-E beginning in the mid 1980’s as these drastically different individuals and friends (or in some cases more acquaintances) join forces and against all odds form one of the most recognizable and monumental hip hop groups in history, launching gangster rap into the mainstream in addition to igniting the legendary careers a number of its members still retain.
Directed By the talented F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job) from a powerful script by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center), Gray does a phenomenal job at the helm of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and guides this biopic with an air of reality and power that nearly makes you feel as if you’re actually taking this journey alongside them. The film also benefits tremendously from the impressive performances by a number of relatively unknown individuals including O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr., R. Marcos Taylor, in addition to Paul Giamatti and a number more, nearly all of whom deliver outstanding performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Straight Outta Compton’ is absolutely amazing and easily one of the best films 2015 had to offer, making it a true shame that it wasn’t nominated with numerous other well deserved Oscar nods, acquiring only a Best Screenplay nomination. Regardless, for anyone who spent any amount of their time listening to gangster rap or related music as well as those familiar and intrigued with the artists responsible for them and the powerful story of how they arrived at where they are now, then this is a movie event you will not want to miss out on. Addictively entertaining and boosted by phenomenal performances each of which is perfectly selected, this amazing true story is simultaneously powerful, painful, and tear-jerking, grin inducing and not a film you will forget anytime in the foreseeable future. Guided with a caring hand of director F. Gary Gray who perfectly captures the world of Compton, I cannot recommend this film highly enough, it’s well worth the cost of a rental at the very least, although don’t be the least bit surprised if you find yourself subsequently purchasing a copy shortly thereafter.
It’s also worth making certain you select the Unrated Director’s Cut of the film to watch if possible as it offers 20 minutes of additional footage integrated into the film which wasn’t seen in theaters, nearly all of which is as powerful and relative as the rest and well worth checking out. Numerous sequences included solely in the Director’s Cut were so powerful and crucial I was notably shocked to discover they were omitted in the theatrical version, most likely due to time constraints yet nonetheless surprising.
Overall, the ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Director’s Cut (as well as the film in general) is not to be missed, it’s an incredibly entertaining, powerful and riveting film that will pull you in with the opening sequence and refuse to relent until the end credits roll nearly three swift hours later. Beautifully guided by director F. Gary Gray and boosted by an incredibly talented cast that delivers in every way, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is one of the most fantastic films I’ve had the pleasure to behold in the previous year so make certain you don’t pass this one up if you’re even remotely intrigued to begin with.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic, delivering a consistently sharp, detailed and nearly flawless video presentation that holds up impressively even during the numerous fast moving and darkly lit sequences throughout the film, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is an impressive high definition video presentation that should easily please the fans and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and delivers in every regard, providing a sharp, clean and hard-hitting soundtrack from start to finish, utilizing all five available channels in order to truly immerse the viewer in the musical elements as well as plenty of crowd activity and some action-related auditory effects swarming throughout the channels throughout, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ includes a number of enjoyable and informative extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director/Producer’ F. Gary Gray’, in addition to a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ (running approximately 6 minutes in length altogether), and a ‘Deleted Song Performance’ (approximately 90 seconds). Also included on the release are a number of short but thoroughly entertaining and informative behind the scenes Featurettes that include behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and the real life individuals. The included Featurettes are: ‘N.W.A: The Origins’ (running approximately 4 minutes), ‘Impact’ (approximately 2 minutes), ‘Director’s Journey’ (3 minutes), ‘The Streets: Filming in Compton’ (6 minutes), ‘N.W.A Performs in Detroit’ (5 minutes), and ‘Becoming N.W.A’ (9 minutes).