I watched the entirety of this thrilling new N.W.A. biopic, not knowing that Ice Cube’s son was playing Ice Cube. It’s not like the guy is named Ice Cube, Jr. He’s actually named O’Shea Jackson Jr., his dad’s birth name with a Jr. tacked on to the end. Jackson, Jr. is the No. 1 reason to see Compton, a blast of a film that chronicles the rise of rap group N.W.A., the eventual infighting, and the birth of some gigantic solo careers and record labels. Along with Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell is a revelation as Eazy-E, and Corey Hawkins provides a nice anchor as Dr. Dre. The film works best when covering the early days and the creation of the legendary album that shares the movie’s title. It also spends plenty of time on the band’s management problems with Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti in a moderately distracting wig), and Eazy-E’s eventual death from AIDS. At a running time of 180 minutes, plenty of ground gets covered, and covered in a way that never gets boring. This is a solid cinematic time capsule that gives some deserved glory to an influential group that forever changed the landscape of hip-hop and brought much needed attention to a very troubled part of the world. It does the band, and the biopic genre in general, proud.

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