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Red Dawn
  • Composed by Ramin Djawadi
  • Sony Classical / 2012 / 51:19

Back in 1984, John Milius offered his Reagan-era right wing wet dream Red Dawn to the world.  Set in the future, it told the story of World War Three, with Russia and Cuba combining forces to invade America; the resistance was led by Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. Providing the score was the beloved Basil Poledouris (whose music isn’t really amongst his finest but contains a lot of really good material).  Fast forward to 2012 and here comes the remake, directed by veteran stunt performer Dan Bradley and this time starring Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck.  The Commies are still the enemy, but now they’re from North Korea.  Stepping into the shoes of Poledouris is the rather less beloved Ramin Djawadi, who has at least got a couple of scores under his belt which aren’t awful.

Unfortunately, Red Dawn is awful.  One thing that I will say for it is that there is a lot of crashing and banging.  Indeed, it would be very difficult to fault it if you were primarily seeking a lot of crashing and banging.  For those with slightly different aims from their soundtrack albums, there is less on offer.  The one bright spot is the old-school Media Ventures main theme, introduced in “Wolverines”; it’s has a kind of throwback appeal and I enjoy its appearances through the score.  But the action music – and there’s no shortage of it – does nothing at all, just crashing and banging away, sometimes getting the orchestra to play in unison alongside the synth crashes and synth bangs (it’s hard to tell at times if the orchestra is real or sampled, such is the insipid nature of the orchestration).  The attempts to inject something more serious and even elegiac into the music fall flat on their face – “Execution” is presumably meant to sound terribly earnest, but it just doesn’t work.  One to avoid.

Rating: * |

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  1. mastadge (Reply) on Saturday 29 December, 2012 at 02:56

    I found this one less awful than just a nothing score. I guess to me the awful scores are the “unscores,” the ones that give me a headache or actually offend my sensibilities. This isn’t even remarkably bad, though. It just plods dully along and then ends; nothing about it is memorable; there’s no feeling that repeated listens will yield anything new.

    A shame, too, because Djawadi is capable of being very fun, and has occasionally written an above-average McScore that’s at least energetic enough to listen to every so often.

  2. Nate Elias (Reply) on Saturday 29 December, 2012 at 04:48

    I expected as much!

  3. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Saturday 29 December, 2012 at 08:32

    Yeah, I didn’t think this was too bad. Generic, sure, but inoffensive (and the theme in “Wolverines” and “A Marine and his Rifle” is decent). Then again, I also thought that about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer and you gave that the same rating…So perhaps I have a higher tolerance for RC than you do (scratch that, I always knew that :p ). But to lump this in with Battleship is pretty harsh, IMO; at least this one never caused me auditory pain.