Sunday, September 6, 2015


This film was similar to Walk the Line from 2005 and Notorious from 2009.  The movies were similar because the stories are similar.  They are all three about artists who, not only broke ground in music, but also changed things socially.  This is a story that I personally find fascinating.  If you liked these two previous movies, there is a good chance you will like this one as well. 


                This movie is about the NWA.  A very influential rap group from the 1980’s and 90’s.  The story focuses on the three founding members of the group; Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), and Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell).  The movie begins with the formation of the group and goes all the way through Eazy-E’s death in 1995. 

                The first thing that sticks out about this movie is the cast.  Simply put, it is perfect.  All three of the main actors do a terrific job in this film.  They all look strikingly like the character they are playing, especially Jackson Jr. who plays his father.  Even the supporting actors who are only in the movie for a short time were good.  This could be the most well cast movie I have seen this year. 

                Two of the main characters portrayed in this film were producers on it.  You might think this would help with the accuracy of the movie, but in this case I think it hurt.  The story is told in a very one-sided way which detracts from the emotional impact of the film in my opinion.  This movie fails to show both sides of the moral issues it presents which minimizes it’s effect to some degree.  I understand that Ice Cube and Dr. Dre didn’t want to make themselves look bad, but there were several real life events that were conveniently left out of the film. 

                I thoroughly enjoyed the music in the film.  The live performances sound very good and the movie provides a wide sampling of NWA’s catalogue.  The lyrics are very rough though, so if you are the type that is offended by this, you probably will not enjoy this movie very much. 

                The movie is generally well made by director F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job).  There are written introductions on screen for all the main characters early in the film which I found slightly annoying and unnecessary.  The movie is paced very well and manages to stay fairly interesting all the way through a run time that was probably a little too long.  The movie is sort of in two halves with the first half easily being the best.  The second half loses a lot of the passion and energy of the first half and becomes too much about business deals and petty bickering.  The movie drags just a little toward the end but it was never boring or hard to watch. 

                This is a movie I am glad I watched.  It has it’s problems but I enjoyed it quite a bit.  If you can get past a little glossing over of events and hang with it for a relatively long run time, the film certainly has a lot going for it.  The Movie Man gives it 3.5 out of 5 stars.      
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