- Composed by Mark Mancina
- La-La Land Records / 2012 / 69:25
It’s a good job they didn’t make Speed where I’m from. I’m not sure that any form of public transportation in the United Kingdom has ever reached fifty miles per hour, even though they’re usually chock full of people desperate to get to the benefits office as quickly as possible to collect their lavish handouts to spend on booze and drugs. Jan de Bont’s film, on the other hand, is set in far more glamorous surroundings and was a decent action flick, gaining unexpectedly strong reviews (there was even praise for Keanu Reeves) and raking in a box office fortune. It was 1994 and at the time, not all Hollywood action scores sounded like they were written by a Hans Zimmer clone. Speed does sound like it was written by a Hans Zimmer clone, but actually predates some of the famous scores it at least partially resembles.
It’s old school, “classic” Media Ventures stuff (if you bristle at the use of that adjective in that circumstance, I can only apologise). Its best feature are its two main themes, both a product of that Faltermeyer-to-Zimmer journey. They’re incredibly cheesy and now sound so dated it’s hard to believe there was ever a time when they didn’t, but they’re really enjoyable tunes. Saying that, once is enough for either of them, and sadly the the other 65 minutes of the album are largely undistinguished and sometimes borderline repellent. Repetitive, unbelievably cheap (a gigantic orchestra is listed inside the album but you can never hear it over the tinny synths), it’s difficult to imagine that anyone could find anything of real value other than nostalgia in there. Bleeps and squirts all over the place, uninspired drum loops, apparent lack of structure on a few occasions – it doesn’t do much for me. Mancina’s work on the sequel was many times more impressive. The positive reaction to the album release suggests I’m in a minority (possibly of one), but I’ve been there before and my sub-50mph life has gone on. * 1/2