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Bullet to the Head
  • Composed by Steve Mazzaro
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2013 / 43m

It’s taken a while, but somebody finally gave Walter Hill the money to make another movie after 2002’s Supernova.  The result – the mind-numbingly-titled Bullet to the Head – is described by Richard Roeper as “the kind of brainless action movie Sylvester Stallone might have starred in circa 1985.”  Of course, it’s not 1985 any more, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s told Hill or Stallone.  The score is provided by newcomer Steve Mazzaro.  Whenever you see an unknown composer getting to score a big-budget action film, you just know what’s happened, and sure enough the dreaded “Score produced by Hans Zimmer” credit appears.  I’m delighted to report that Mazzaro’s score is actually nothing like the generic junk that credit usually implies but instead is a fresh, creative and entertaining action score.

Mazzaro firmly sets the tone in the terrific opening cue, “Here’s the Story”, essentialy a piece of instrumental blues/rock, with guitars, bass, drums and harmonica.  There’s no orchestra here at all, but that shouldn’t put you off – the sonic world the composer creates is compelling and always highly listenable.  It would be relatively straightforward to get a laid-back, smooth sound from the ensemble but instead, impressively, Mazzaro’s music has a constant edge, whether in the engaging style of the opening cue (a style heard throughout the score) or the more occasional diversions into somewhat bleaker electronic-dominated suspense.  Occasional set-pieces – like the fantastic tango “The Fox and the Hound”, reprised at the very end of the score – add further to the album’s appeal.  There’s nothing earth-shattering here but Bullet to the Head is a good album, one of those very easy to sit and listen to repeatedly; hopefully others won’t fall into the same trap as I did about making assumptions about what it will be like based on the composer’s lineage.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. mastadge (Reply) on Friday 22 February, 2013 at 22:41

    But James, your review and your star rating don’t align as I think they should! The review makes me want to listen to this but a mere three stars tells me to stay away! Whatever shall I do?!?!

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Friday 22 February, 2013 at 22:49

    I’m afraid I will have to leave you to stew over that. I know it’s likely to cause you sleepless nights and can only apologise.

  3. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Saturday 23 February, 2013 at 15:47

    Funny, I’d rather listen to a generic RC score with a couple of decent themes like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter or Red Dawn, than I would an interminable blues album masquerading as a score like this one is. Really did NOT enjoy it at all. Same rating as Journey 2…pffft.


  4. Mike Read (Reply) on Saturday 11 May, 2019 at 14:04

    So who is blowing that harp in the end score ? Great harmonica playing who ever it is.