- Composed by Marco Beltrami
- Sony Classical / 2013 / 65m
“Yippe Ki-Yay, Mother Russia!” screams the tagline, amusingly. Unfortunately that turns out to be the best thing about A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth and probably final entry in the longstanding action franchise. John McClane is no longer the reluctant hero battling bad guys, but this time out is thrust into an all-conquering, 80s-style-Schwarzenegger type who goes to Russia to save his estranged son and kills most of the population while he’s there. Director John Moore has worked with composer Marco Beltrami three times before – and Beltrami himself scored the previous entry in this franchise, so it was only natural that he should return, entrusted with continuing the legacy of Michael Kamen. The score opens with a little quote from “Ode to Joy” and Kamen’s theme for McClane is plastered all over it (though Kamen is mysteriously, rather unforgivably, uncredited); but really Beltrami’s scores are very different from any of the franchise’s first three.
It’s balls-to-the-wall action almost from start to end. Beltrami does action very well – fortunately! – and his very modern blend of orchestra and electronics works a treat; the lengthy album seems to breeze by in no time. The choppy strings, brass alternating between providing thunderous action accompaniment and occasional at times moments of noble heroism – it’s thrilling stuff. Virtually every track here is action-dominated; the eight-minute sequence with two “Truckzilla” tracks sandwiching “Yippe Ki-Yay, Mother Russia” is just blisteringly exciting. The occasional more emotional moments provide some much-needed relief to the tension – “Father and Son” is a lovely piece which appears immediately after the previously-mentioned action fest; and the finale, “It’s Hard to Kill a McClane”, features the kind of sweep Jerry Goldsmith always brought to films like this. Is there anything particularly distinctive about this score? No, and that might be a problem for some. Such is its entertainment value though, I’m willing to forgive that, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Rating: *** 1/2