Friday, 28 August 2015
REVIEW: STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
Raiders Of The Lost Angeles.
147 Minutes. Starring: O'Shea Jackson, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jnr & Paul Giamatti. Director F. Gary Gray.
You are about to witness the strength of street knowledge. Straight into cinemas comes 'Straight Outta Compton'. The story of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, M.C. Ren, D.J. Yella and the late, great, one and only Eazy, Mother####### (yeah I said it) E. Five rappers (yeah I'm not going to say it) with attitude who weren't afraid to tell the law where to go. Sure Dr. Dre's protege Eminem had '8 Mile' but these boys are '100 Miles and Running', expressing themselves in ways were these public enemies ran past the legendary likes of DMC, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Chuck D and Flava Flav to be number one back in hip-hops golden era of the 80's that showed they where the worlds most dangerous group. But this movie is more than just the masses moving music slapped with the first real parental advisory sticker that inspired every hip-hop legend and star today from Snoop Dogg to Kendrick Lamar. This explicit content that birthed gangster rap served as the soundtrack for a critical part of modern day Los Angeles and American history. As the City of Angels was ignited by the hell-fire of the L.A. riots that ravaged the Californian city in response to the police brutality in the abhorrent beating of Rodney King. N.W.A. where a force to be reckoned with that stood up to injustice with a middle finger, raised from the city of Compton and the survival of the fittest nature of a violent upbringing that the police often rolled right past. Cube, Dre, Easy, Yella and Ren's low-riding concrete crushing bass was a Los Angeles Raider baseball bat snapping sound that struck back at the billy club (or as Ren realistically put it "silly" club) brutality with emphatic energy and excitement that's all evoked here. The spokesmen of a raw and ignored generation became Los Angeles Kings and world famous like the Lakers even without Magic. Now in a modern time where things still haven't changed much and now innocent black lives are being reduced to nothing like they don't matter by trigger happy enforcers, we need this movie that may even surpass the likes of 'Boyz In Da Hood' and 'Menace To Society' more than ever. Keeping it lit like the chronic, today is a good day for Dre and N.W.A. to show you what time it is.
So lets get straight to it. Dr. Dre himself has laid down the perfect soundtrack to this movie with his last album and his first in sixteen eagerly anticipated and long awaited years of 'Detox' in the form of the new classic 'Compton'. The perfect bass for the billionaires Beats venture to play. Still here the young Corey Hawkins shows us an episode of Andre Young's life where he was mixing in Ice Cube's ready to melt, no A.C. living room, after the billionaire was kicked out by his mum in a desperate attempt to help him make more of himself than being worth just a few lousy bucks. Yet scratching away at the turntables like a young Jazzy Jeff in his prime we see the passion of the person that produced all this and is showing us right now that he has always been the Dre you still see today and can't forget. And the actor Hawkins whose previous credits include 'Iron Man 3' and Tybalt in the latest 'Romeo & Juliet' adaptation captures the poise and presence of this icon perfectly. Not to mention the voice...hell yeah! Meanwhile rolling down the street in his 64, the scripts are coming in like rap sheets for new dope actor of the moment Jason Mitchell who is a ruthless mix of raw and real as Eazy-E. Thumping his chest with pride after landing a role in the new 'Kong' movie, Mitchell crowns a throne worthy performance as the original king of gangster hip-hop. Yet its his sobering and shedding portrayal of this fallen rap royalties brave battle with HIV that really succumbs to new depths of acting and understanding. He does more than just pour out a little liquor, the little dynamo, dynamite actor makes a significant stand. Eric E. Wright would be proud...so will his son who we all originally thought would be cast in honour...until now. One son who makes pops proud in his testament of tribute is O'Shea Jackson-or should we say mini-Ice Cube-who plays his dad with a dedication that only the flesh and blood of family can understand. You might of thought that the former gangster rapper that makes family movies and has recently hit with the 'Jump Street' and 'Ride Along' franchises could play himself. But yo, someone tell Dre that the son of Ice Cube has got something to say too, taking the black clothes and hats off ice. From the Jeri curls to the bald dome, O'Shea is a cut above the rest as pops and almost looks the product of a time machine or a cloning one. With all sorts of cubism going on there's even a moment where O'Shea Jackson as pops holds a young baby son...that's himself. Weird huh? It's kind of a wonder too. Something that even had Ice Cube joking that he'd disappear from family photos like Marty McFly in a surreal moment like this, but go back to the future here and you'll see a perfect portrait that will last for the new generations that get to learn about the forefathers of their favourite form of music. Now someone call Chris Tucker for this Film For Friday, because O'Shea just knocked this part the f### out.
Still this attitude is nothing without the rest of N.W.A. And Aldis Hodge who over the span of a decade has been in two 'Die Hard' films as a kid and a cop, kills it. Going hard as the underrated Mc Ren who licks more lasting lyrics that lace the law with the delight of rappers justice in revenge. A dish best served hot off the turntables with some ice cold Cube lines. Mixing this all together perfectly is DJ Yella played with punctuation by 'Fast and Furious' and 'Battle: Los Angeles' actor Neil Brown Jnr. There's all sorts of character cameos here too in this epic biopic of a genre of music including people playing everyone from Warren G to Chuck D and even unbelievable lookalikes of Interscope's Jimmy Iovine and Tupac Shakur that makes it look like the hologram is back. Just wait until they give the greatest most influential and inspiring rappers of all-time his own movie...Anthony Mackie has played him enough times on stage and screen now to get a full feature and the Falcon is a soaring actor. The fat cat label owner Suge Knight is here also in close cigar form with a tote that smokes out just how ridiculous and villainous he really was. Even definitive director F. Gary Gray of 'Law Abiding Citizen' and 'The Negotiator', not to mention 'Friday' fame even Stan Lee's himself into a scene. Yet its 'Dope' and 'Selma' star Keith Stanfield who is the best of the rapping rest with bark for bow wow perfect bite as a young Snoop Dogg from the hood before he went Hollywood. Still platinum character actor Paul Giamatti almost steals the show he runs with behind the scenes corruption with yet another plaque for his deep and diverse, formidable filmographys wall of fame. It's the dollar over sense, music company people are shady, rule number four thousand and eighty that we should all check, that is is one of the main overarching themes in the original death of a hip-hop dynasty. This being a million miles and dollars away from the turbulent time and tide of L.A. in the late 80's and early 90's that gave way to much more at stake than beef. With the battle between the bloods and crips and all the other gangs including the boys in blue who where colorblind when it came to black rights. Doing what artists like Nina Simone and Miles Davis did before them but with more of an elaborate middle finger, the musicians of N.W.A. who most of this millennial generation have grown up with can once again be spokesman to a new generation in desperate need of a voice that's saying something in the mainstream view of the MTV world today...even if it is all just music. Just wait until all the 'Straight Outta' hash-tag Instagram post crowd will buy the title album tomorrow and claim they've been a fan since before they were born. This is something more and you don't need to see the success of executive producers Ice Cube's movies or Dr. Dre's headphones to hear all about it. One poignant moment where Cube and Eazy look back over a drink with groups like Wu Tang playing in the background plays is all out to a fine point. Even without being the voice of a generation lost in the drowning out sounds of violence. Even without being the pride of young men who can stand up for themselves in the face of a clenched fist...or worse. Without N.W.A. there's be no Snoop Dogg, Eminem or Kendrick Lamar and who knows who else? Now what does that tell you about still music's newest genre? Even if you're not a fan of rap music there's a strong enough story here of the rise and fall of success and loyalty that we can all relate to. You're straight out of excuses to not see why N.W.A made it out from the C.P.T. And even if you have one guess what? They still don't give a f###! TIM DAVID HARVEY.