Bill I’s Rating – 3.5 out of 5
I almost gave this a 4 rating because I enjoyed it so much, but I thought due to its formulaic structure (boys meet boys, boys lose boys, boys get back together) I didn’t think it’s a top movie of the year so far. But what’s there is captivating, from the rise of the young members of rap group NWA coming together to create music and messages that rocked the culture. It’s got some great elements: rags to riches, brotherly bonding (both more captivating and more realistic then what we see in Entourage movie), the music hits business (including the slick talking manager), betrayal, villains (cue Shug Knight!), growth, and ultimately death. Ice Cube is portrayed by his actual son (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) who looks just like his dad. Easy E is the most compelling character, and the always great Paul Giamatti excels in manager sleaziness disguised by loving mentor and plain talking businessman. I could go on and describe some great scenes, especially the crowd receptions, the riots, but the biggest emotional impact for me was to see how the police treated these young “gangsters”, which hits so close to home when seeing it happening in everyday America. I never cared much for NWA’s music, and in fact despised their F*** tha Police song, but put into context here (Ice Cube writes it literally after experiencing first hand police thuggery and racism), it make sense and comes across as a legitimate form of civil protest. The violence and sex is nothing too brutal or explicit, and I think the movie is OK for teenagers 15 and over. It’s nothing they haven’t already heard, and by seeing this film we can understand where the NWA members came from.