- Composed by Bill Conti
- Intrada / 2013 / 65m
A very young Sean Penn stars in 1983’s Bad Boys, a gritty drama about a 16-year-old boy who accidentally kills another while he’s trying to rip off a Chicago gangster. He goes to juvenile detention – and lots of bad things happen. They are, after all, bad boys. Director Rick Rosenthal had just made Halloween II, but since this film most of his career has been spent in television. For the film’s score he enlisted the services of Bill Conti, around the peak of his popularity at the time (The Right Stuff and The Karate Kid were just around the corner). His eclectic score draws from several different styles and, while the album doesn’t present it in its best light, there’s actually a core of very strong material here.
The disc opens with the sweet, melodic main theme, its humble beginnings having a music box feel of innocence about them, before a heavier classical sound is introduced when the strings come in. “Chicago Night” is a jazzier piece – and jazz has quite a big part to play as the score goes on. In “Meet Paco”, Conti introduces action for the first time – it’s dark and gritty but certainly not unlistenable. The action reaches frenzied heights in “The Crime”, wild sax adding an unexpected but effective, urban feel. “Music of the Night” is a nice jazz/pop instrumental (presumably source). The brief “Welcome to Rainford” is a bleak, cold portrait of the prison, one of the score’s highlights. And there’s well over half the album to go at this point – though as ideas start to become repeated, it does begin to lose some steam – a tighter, better-produced album could have provided a much better listening experience. That said, “The Rape” is an impressive piece of dark action music, and there are a few very nice presentations of the main theme. Even with that flaw, this is still an interesting album, and with a bit of work you can get a very good programme of music from it – it’s a serious work, with plenty of impressive material, and of course highly recommended to fans of this underappreciated composer.
Rating: *** 1/2