Compared are the Theatrical Version and the Director's Cut (both available on the German Blu-ray by Universal)
- 68 differences, among them 23 with alternate footage
- Length difference: 1206.7 sec (= 20:07 min)
The Motion Picture
In 1988, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella & MC Ren released an album called "Straight Outta Compton" - they called themselves N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitudes) (founding member Arabian Prince was partially involved as well but he promptly left the group). There is no doubt that this is an absolute classic of the gangsta rap subgenre and even hip hop haters might at least know the promotionally effective title track pilloried by the FBI Fuck the Police. In 1991, they did a second album called "Niggaz4Life". On this album, Ice Cube was not with NWA anymore and generally speaking, the following solo careers were more interesting. Especially Dr. Dre had built a unique status for himself.
In 2012, a biopic about N.W.A with the obvious title Straight Outta Compton was announced. At first, John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood, Shaft ) was supposed to direct but at the end of the day, F. Gary Gray. With films like Friday and Set it Off, he had already proven that he was the right guy for the job. He recently did it again with Law Abiding Citizen and currently, he is working onFast & Furious 8. For all kinds of reasons, production was delayed but the film was worldwide released theatrically in August 2015. With a box office result of more than $200 million, he exceeded all expectations and the film became a huge success. Despite some critic regarding the detail - especially coming from fans who were familiar with the history of N.W.A., the result is an atmospherical and thrilling piece of work unleashed on the world.
As often, it had become common knowledge that Gray's first cut had a length of more than 3 hours - germane to its theatrical release - and that e was working on a Director's Cut with approx. 20 more minutes. After rumors that this Director's Cut would get its own theatrical release, it has been released with the Theatrical Version on Blu-ray in January 2016. In a current interview on collider.com, Gray argues in favor of this version - it was his favorite version and with "more of everything", he sets the agenda:
The Director's Cut
In fact, the quoted comments of the director summarize very well what I am about to say: the picture now seems better paced and there is more room for charcter development as well. Especially rap fans should be satisfied with the additional footage because it contains more information about the origin of some classics plus there is more music in general which makes the Director's Cut undoubtfully the preferable version. Keeping that in mind, it is good to hear that any Blu-ray release worldwide contains both the Theatrical Version and the Director's Cut. The huge amount of alterations (please see above) perfectly illustrates the huge effort that was made. As one can probably guess by the picture I used, especially Eazy-E (resp. his actor Jason Mitchell) profits a lot from the Director's Cut Version.
Most noticeable are a few more longer additional scenes. Eazy-E now gets to unexpectedly show a bag full of large caliber weapons during the tour which demonstrates their street background to the manager and label boss. Also, there is a lot of additional footage about his relationship with Tomica. At first, he invites her to a fancy restaurant, then she cheers him up after getting his butt kicked by Suge Knight and at the end, they get married at sickbed shorty he dies of HIV. The ongoing alienation between Eazy-E and his manager Jerry Heller is an issue in several scenes as well.
In addition to that, the other crew members have some defining moments as well: After Snoop Dogg's Chronic joint, Dr. Dre gets new inspiration for the upcoming album milestone of his career (some of those shot were also part of the trailer and missed by many people). Also, his family plans with Nicole are being mentioned. DJ Yella watches porn in the tour bus and causes an embarrassing situation for MC Ren who is sitting next to him - nothing profound but at least some more entertaining screentime with the two characters. Ice Cube mentioning a death in the family after Dr.Dre's brother deceased goes in the opposite direction, naturally.
Other than that, there is more music in the Director's Cut - as already pointed out. To be more specific, both their live performances and the studio recordings are more detailed - not always but very often. Cutting these scenes for the theatrical release makes sense but it is self-explanatory that any fan is grateful for those scenes.
It is noticeably in general that a lot of alternate footage has been used and sometimes little cuts causing a slightly different resolution have been made. For instance, Ice Cube now looks at the notes on the wall contemplatively before leaving Bryan Turner's office plus a rather drastic phrasing when visiting Eazy-E at the hospital has been removed. Those are the nuances Gray mentioned and that also goes for the small audio track alterations. Some of the news comment have been repositioned, for instance. Due to that, the focus of those comment is different now. It can't be summarized to the last detail though. Often, it is just an additional comment and character moment that, when putting it all together, paint a different picture.
In addition to that, some people might have problems with a few things being left out - such as Dre's violence against women or the lack of discussion about misogynistic and homophobic lyrics. The rather sentimental second half did not always come off very well either. Of course, the Director's goes deeper into that as well. Especially since the role Eazy-E plays is interesting because he is already broken and eager to reunite before he gets the bad news regarding his disease even though he released lots of tracks dissing the other crew members back in the days. But then again, this could not be expected. Not only because Dr. Dre & Ice Cube were the producers but also for dramaturgical reasons. At least, a few negative aspects are being mentioned and taking a look at the big picture, the Director's Cut deals properly with an interesting chapter of American pop culture and American society back then.
Time index refers to
Theatrical Version Blu-ray / Director's Cut Blu-ray
Altered Audio Track
After a few identical announcements, the ones during the logo are different.
Both Reagan's comment ("They will have no dark alleyways to hide in.") and Oliver North's comment ("I, Lieutenant Colonel North, I don't recall that conversation.") are earlier in the Theatrical Version. Therefore, the comment regarding an improved organization among gangs and Reagan's other comment ("Drugs are menacing our society.") are earlier in the Director's Cut.
Two comments are exclusive in either of the versions.
Theatrical Version: "A rival gang drove up and shot them."
Director's Cut: "...Crips, the bloods."
00:47 / 00:47-01:10
After the logos, the Director's Cut begins with a aerial shot. Then a sht of Eazy-E. He stops and approaches the trunk.
Since the place and time designation goes by the board due to the cut, it comes up here.
01:14 / 01:37
For some reason, the shot of Eazy-E is a few frames longer.
02:33-02:34 / 02:56-03:07
Before Eazy-E asks for his money, there is a discussion in the Director's Cut.
The guy in te background asks with skepticism: "What, y'all don't want something to drink?"
Eazy-E fiddles around in the bag of yayo and asks with a smile on his face: "You want some pussy?"
Eazy-E: "Not from these little strawberry bitches you got up in here."
The Theatrical Version only contains a subsequent moment of the shot of Eazy-E. Regarding his comment "I want my fucking money. Where the money at?", one only sees him during the last words in the Theatrical Version while the Director's Cut cuts to the following shot of the women after the first sentence.
Director's Cut 10.2 sec longer
04:05 bzw 04:08-04:11 / 04:38-04:43
The shot of the thug is slightly longer resp. he turns back to the hiding spot in the wall.
When his homie then says "You know what to do with it" to one of the women, he shows up a little later in the Theatrical Version resp. he interrupts the in the Director's Cut ongoing shot of Eazy-E at the window.
Director's Cut 2 sec longer
04:33 / 05:08-05:12
The thug in the undershirt gets a nice little surprise.
08:09 / 08:47-08:57
Some more family ties at Dr. Dre's: His brother Tyree would like to join.
Tyree: "Can I come with you?
Dr. Dre laughs: "Really? You've been crying this whole time about us sharing a room. And now you wanna come with me? Man, get out of here."
13:23 / 14:11-14:19
The jam session is a little longer.
13:50-13:51 / 14:46-14:53
Short dialog between Dr. Dre and Ice Cube who is implying a screwed up gig.
Dr. Dre: "You wanna avoid some more crazy shit, you better not get up on that stage and fuck up."
Ice Cube: "Ain't nobody gonna fuck up, man."
The shots before/afterwards are insignificantly longer in the Theatrical Version (no screenshots).
Director's Cut 6.6 sec longer
16:52-16:56 / 17:55-18:09
The walk across the club is much longer in the Director's Cut plus one can DJ Yella flirt earlier from the off: "I just wanna say this. You should be a model."
The camera then follows the woman's butt sooner - the shot itself is equal.
The Theatrical Version shows Ice Cube rehearsing his lyrics for the first time.
Director's Cut 10.6 sec longer
22:52 / 24:05-24:26
After Dre's first encounter with five-o, the scene with Eazy-e picking him up from the joint starts sooner.
32:37 / 34:12-34:27
Longer discussion in the studio. Ice Cube is still sceptical before they shake on it.
Dr. Dre: "I told you. Didn't I tell you?"
DJ Yella: "You told me, man. I should've believed you."
Ice Cube: "What the fuck did you all get from that that you're high-fiving and shit?"
DJ Yella keeps laughing: "Cube. Man, if Lonzo think it ain't gonna be shit, we know we got a motherfucking hit! 'Cause he don't know shit about music. He don't know good music when he hears it."
32:39 / 34:29
MC Ren insignificantly longer.
32:47 / 34:37-34:59
More footage of the boys being enthusiastic about Eazy-E's first hit Boyz-N-Tha Hood resp. they are rapping it, too:
"A car pulls up. Who can it be?
A fresh El Camino rollin', Kilo G.
He rolled down his window and he started to say:
It's all about makin' that GTA.
'Cause the boyz n tha hood are always hard.
You come talking that trash we'll pull your card,
knowing nothing in life but to be legit.
Don't quote me, boy 'cause I ain't said shit."
In the Theatrical Version, the previous shot is insignificant 7 frames longer (no screenshots). Furthermore, the same song is audible during the following 20 seconds.
Director's Cut 21.8 sec longer
33:57 / 36:09-36:14
The conversation is a little longer.
Eazy-E: "After you."
Jerry Heller: "All right. Come on."
34:40-34:41 / 36:57-36:58
After Eazy-E's comment "It seems as if I could do something for you", the Director's Cut shows him a moment longer while the shot of Jerry starts earlier in the Theatrical Version.
34:52-35:06 / 37:09-37:29
When Jerry names some more of his artists and when he asks Eazy-E if he had worked with someone from the current decade, alternate takes have been used. In the Director's Cut, Eazy-E appears more arrogant. The intonation of Jerry's reaction is accordingly.
Director's Cut 5.6 sec longer
35:12-35:19 / 37:35-37:42
During the identical cut to Eazy-E, Jerry's identical recording starts in the middle of the sentence. Still the case but an alternate take of Jerry has been used here.
36:30-36:36 / 38:53-39:05
When Eazy-E explains what N.W.A. stands for, Jerry reacts differently.
Theatrical Version: He laughs and says "I'll buy that."
Director's Cut: He hesitates for a second, then he says "You're fucking kidding me..." and adds: "All right. We can work with that."
Director's Cut 6.4 sec longer
38:21 / 40:50-41:24
Only in the Director's Cut, Jerry enters and gives a motivational speech after Eazy-E's explanation regarding his share as manager.
Jerry: "Fellas, all right. I'm sorry I'm late. How's everybody doing? I'm gonna be honest with you. We've had a lot of passes. Uh, people are scared of you guys. Big time. They think that you're dangerous. Uh, I happen to think that that's a good thing. These fucking guys, they need some more convincing. They're so fucking timid. So I invited them here to the show. So you've got to kick ass tonight. Can you do that?"
The guys agree: "Hell yeah."
Jerry: "They're gonna be here. Scare the shit out of them."
The guys laugh and before he leaves, Jerry says: "Blow the fucking roof off, all right? Have a good show."
In the Theatrical Version, the previous shot of Eazy-E is half-a-second longer (no screenshots).
Director's Cut 33 sec longer
38:25 / 41:28
A shot is 10 frames longer in the Director's Cut. As compensation, the following one starts 10 frames earlier in the Theatrical Version.
40:09-40:17 / 43:11-44:02
Only the Director's Cut contains Eazy-E's verse of "Dopeman" - the chorus before/afterwards.
Concomitant with that, the a few shots are different in the Theatrical Version (resp. they are partially recut): The crowd is bawling before Jerry asks the label representatives for their opinion.
Director's Cut 42.3 sec longer
40:32 / 44:17-44:18
Another case of "shot A longer in the Theatrical Version / shot B earlier in the Director's Cut". This time, for lip-sync reasons in th Director' Cut.
Director's Cut 0.9 sec longer
42:32-42:35 / 46:18-46:36
Dr. Dre asks more detailed about the artists Priority Records has under contract. For that reason, the shots before and after sligtly differ.
Dre: "(What you got?) Like, is it Def Jam? Like, the Beastie Boys? You know? Run DMC? You know what I'm saying? Or is it more R&B? You know, Prince, Michael Jackson."
Jerry: "It's, uh, a little more..."
Bryan: "More that end of the spectrum. More R&B as of right now, but... (Yeah, we represent nothing big, but mostly R&B.)"
Director's Cut 15.1 sec longer
43:31 / 47:31-47:34
The studio tour starts a little earlier. Resulting from that, Dre's announcement begins on-screen. In the Theatrical Version, it starts during the last second of the previous shot.
45:44 / 49:47-49:55
The studio session is longer. The guys are screwing around a bit.
50:57 / 55:08-55:09
During the fast-paced montage of street signs which are supposed to show where the latest hit Fuck the Police is being celebrated, the shot of the last sign - Crenshaw Blvd - is bit longer.
Altered Audio Track
51:20 / 55:32
Weird: When the radio commentator mentions the new album during the lowrider shots, a sentence is audible earlier. In order to do so, a comment from the off regarding the lowriders ("Damn, that shit was dope!") has been removed.
51:24 / 55:36-55:37
A shot starts a bit earlier and so does the subsequent "NWA Tour 1989" insert.
51:29-51:33 / 55:42-56:47
In the Director's Cut, Jerry and Bryan argue in the parking lot. Eazy-E appears and Jerry is shocked that he intends to carry in the tour bus.
Bryan: "Are you going out there with them or not?"
Jerry: "No. I had enough of that shit in the '70s. But I'm gonna fly out there a bunch of times, and I'm gonna check on them."
Bryan: "Can you just make sure that everything goes smooth, please?"
Jerry: "Of course. I've got enough bad press with Tipper Gore and the PMRC on my ass."
Bryan: "I know. It's a good contract."
Eazy-E appears to say goodbye: "Getting ready to get outta here, guys."
Jerry: "Excuse me. What's going on? What do you have in that bag?"
Eazy-E: "Oh, this right here? Just a little of the shit I was selling in Reno."
When he pulls out a huge weapon, Jerry instantaneously intervenes: "Oh, fuck, put it down."
Bryan: "Are you kidding me?"
Jerry: "Are you fucking nuts? Jesus, Eric. Are you out of your mind?"
Jerry: "You can't take that on the bus."
Eazy-E: "How am I supposed to protect myself when I'm out there on the road riding through Texas and fucking Tennessee and shit where they lynch niggas? You got me?"
Jerry calms him down: "I got you, okay? I'm not gonna let you take an arsenal on tour, Eric. Use your fucking head."
Eazy-E: "Jerry, look, just take care of the business, a'ight? And I'm gonna make sure everything else good. A'ight, look... Otis, get the bags. Put them on the van. You feel better? We're not even riding with them no more, Jerry."
Jerry: "Unbelievable. Jesus Christ."
Bryan: "No, no, no, do not put those on the..."
Jerry: "Bryan, it's fine. It's fine. I got it under control. I swear to you, okay?"
The shot of Eazy-E behind the stage during the performance of We Want Eazy starts a bit earlier.
The Theatrical Version contains another little shot of the parking lot and a first shot of the concert resp. behind the stage.
Director's Cut 61.5 sec longer