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The Expendables 2
  • Composed by Brian Tyler
  • American release: Lionsgate Records; European release: Silva Screen / 2012 / 56:45

Back in 2010, Sylvester Stallone capitalised on a wave of nostalgia for 80s action movies with The Expendables, in which he directed himself and many of his contemporary action heroes (largely now more suited to superannuation than superheroes).  A couple of years later, the sequel’s here, and it’s proved to be even more popular; Stallone didn’t direct himself this time (Simon West took the reigns instead) but composer Brian Tyler did return to continue where he left off.  That’s precisely what he did, too, writing a score that essentially plays on album as disc two of a two-disc set.  The terrific main theme from the first film (with its cool Goldsmithian touches) is back – and it dominates, appearing countless times on a disc that’s split into 14 different cues but essentially plays as one long action piece.

It’s all done very well indeed, too.  Tyler’s always been good at writing frantic action music, but I wonder sometimes if there isn’t just so much going on that it loses some effect.  In this score, as its predecessor, there’s a great clarity to the music which is worthy of praise – it’s balls-to-the-wall stuff, but smartly orchestrated, brilliantly recorded, and never tiresome.  At a shade under an hour, the album’s slightly more manageable in length than most by this composer, too – it still feels too long, but it’s not as big a problem as it often is.  With its combination of heroic thrills and adventure, the album is a very entertaining one; it’s worth noting that it’s so similar to its predecessor that those hoping for real evolution may find their hopes unfulfilled – and it goes without saying that those who prefer film music to achieve thrills in subtler ways are likely to be sorely disappointed – but for fans of Tyler, this is just wonderfully enjoyable.  *** 1/2 |

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  1. elfenthalsmith (Reply) on Tuesday 30 October, 2012 at 15:38

    Somehow I found this score much more enjoyable than the first one. It might be that, as some have noted, is has even more orchestral depth and less electronics. “Making an Entrance” is one of my favorite cues of the year.