Latest reviews of new albums:
  • Composed by David Buckley
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2013 / 57m

Many of Donald E. Westlake’s Parker novels have been adapted for the big screen before – most notably John Boorman’s Point Blank and John Flynn’s The Outfit – but curiously, none of them has ever retained the character’s name.  Taylor Hackford’s latest film doesn’t just retain the name, it actually takes it and use it as the name of the film (adapted from the novel “Flashfire”).  It stars Jason Statham as the eponymous hero, seeking revenge against his partners in crime in a heist who went on to betray him.  The score comes courtesy of David Buckley, perhaps best known as a one-time associate of Harry Gregson-Williams (he received joint composer credit on some films, most notably The Town).  In recent years Buckley has been establishing himself as a composer in his own right; Parker is by far his highest-project solo project so far.

It doesn’t start promisingly, with grungy, primarily electronic sounds dominating the first few minutes, which come off as being a bit like a second-rate retread of territory firmly explored in the past by Cliff Martinez.  Sometimes it works better – the amorous “Shower Love” is a great piece of modern dramatic scoring.  There’s a brief hint at the end of the second cue, “Ohio State Fair Heist”, of the now-familiar John Powell action style pioneered in the Bourne films, and while it’s not as good as the real thing, it’s entertaining and the album’s best tracks are those employing that style (“Leslie in Boca” a particular highlight).  “Stick to Business” is a wonderfully slick, David Holmes-style piece of suave drama.  If that all makes it sound like a bit of a hodgepodge, then frankly that’s because it is, but Buckley blends the various influences together rather well and the album quickly shakes off its lack of early promise.  It doesn’t come close to sustaining itself for the 57-minute run time, which is much longer than it needs to be, but it’s got enough in it to make it an interesting listen.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. elfenthalsmith (Reply) on Sunday 3 February, 2013 at 17:11

    I wouldn’t say Parker is Buckley’s his highest-project solo project, since The Forbidden Kingdom (an enormously enjoyable score by the way), was kinda bigger. I’m just nitpicking though, good to see Buckley getting some attention, his solo score rarely get reviews.

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Sunday 3 February, 2013 at 17:23

    I’ve never heard of The Forbidden Kingdom!