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Army of Thieves
  • Composed by Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro

Telling the backstory of the safecracker character from Army of the Dead (which was only released a few months ago itself), Army of Thieves is a reasonably enjoyable action comedy directed by its star Matthias Schweighöfer. His character joins a team looking to break into the four “Wagner safes”, all named after famous works by the composer who shares a name with the safe designer. The score is by Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro and very much fits the tone of the movie, built around various heist sequences carried out with that trademark German wit. The opening title theme is wonderful (I have to say, possibly because I’m an idiot, that for all the considerably higher-profile music by Zimmer that’s been released this year, these two minutes top them all). Half Jack Sparrow, half Sherlock Holmes and half “Zooster’s Breakout”, it’s just as much fun as anything that features three halves could ever be – a real ear-worm, it’s pure musical fun, and you’ll be whistling along in no time.

While the rest of the score can’t and doesn’t live up to that, it’s still perfectly entertaining. The oom-pah and yodelling of “Good Samaritan” is great; a secondary, more serious theme that runs through several tracks takes one of the phrases of the main theme and turns it into something genuinely warm and heartfelt (“A Life Less Ordinary” is perhaps the best example), with a wistful air to it. The heist music is fairly typical of the genre, sometimes with a modern twist (there’s a lot of synth percussion loops here) – it’s a style of music that’s fairly hard to get wrong, and while the decision to modernise might put a few people off, I think it’s done with real panache. There’s a Mission: Impossible vibe at times (far more than there was in Zimmer’s own M:I score, ironically) – while “Here’s the Plan” goes off on a different route in the end, just check out those first few bars to see what I mean. There’s a bit of Wagner in the movie – on album it’s just snippets, like the one that opens “It’s Already Done” in amusing fashion, before the piece becomes a crazy bit of synth fun. The more heavy-duty, serious action material towards the end of the score (like “According to Plan”) doesn’t do as much for me, but otherwise – while clearly this is not a major work – it’s all pulled together very well and I find it to be a thoroughly enjoyable album.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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