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Speed 2: Cruise Control
  • Composed by Mark Mancina
  • La-La Land LLLCD 1138 / 2010 / 70:24

Jan de Bont’s Speed was one of the quintessential action movies of the 1990s, its extremely silly plot not really mattering.  However, it didn’t appear to be a film which easily lent itself towards having a sequel – but it got one, without Keanu Reaves or Dennis Hopper but Sandra Bullock was on board the cruise liner that filled in for the bus this time round.  As is often the case, bigger didn’t mean better and it was a resounding failure at the box office.  Mark Mancina’s music for the first film is often considered to be one of the best examples of the Media Ventures action music sound which began to dominate Hollywood film music through the decade; it was only natural that he returned for the sequel, whose music is essentially an extension of the first score.  Oddly, Mancina hasn’t really scored a big action film since this one (now 13 years old).

I think that what makes Mancina’s music that bit more enjoyable than most other action scores that came from the Zimmer troupe during the period is that, even though he is similarly reliant on samples, it always feels like this is properly-written, properly-orchestrated music that just happens to be played not just by an orchestra but also by keyboards.  It’s got some good themes (some from the earlier score, some new ones) and Mancina uses them well; and I enjoy the way he incorporates steel drums and other percussion to represent the Caribbean setting.  70 minutes is pushing it a bit, but there’s little here which is not musically interesting.  Daniel Schweiger’s in-depth liner notes add an excellent final sheen to the impressive package.  It’s no classic, but it’s very enjoyable.  *** 1/2

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  1. JNH (Reply) on Saturday 10 July, 2010 at 08:23

    It’s really a shame that Mancina has pretty much disappeared from the center of the film music industry. He has written some terrific stuff during the nineties, and seeing him today working on all kinds of lame TV series is a pity.