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Entertaining but overlong action score is one of the better non-Zimmer Media Ventures efforts
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
It's unbelievably depressing to have to refer to Bad Boys as a seminal film, but sadly it was, with the Bruckheimer-produced action films which followed all following pretty much the same formula. It was also the launchpad for director Michael Bay - his first film. Finally, it was one of the earliest really big action films to embrace the Media Ventures sound for its score, provided in this instance by Mark Mancina, hired because Bruckheimer liked his forgettable music for Speed.
Mancina's music here is probably more satisfying - while the liner notes ridiculously boast that the composer made his 80-piece orchestra sound even bigger (it is frequently hard to believe that more than three or four real instruments are being played here - there's the standard Media Ventures orchestration which somehow manages to make a symphony orchestra sound like a kid with a keyboard), there is certainly a vibrancy to the music, and a freshness too - this sort of thing had not yet become stale.
The slight twist in the music which makes it rise above several of the other MV/Bruckheimer scores is the reggae vibe injected into the main theme, which works well and adds enough exotic taste to keep it all from blending into The Rock and The Peacemaker and all the other (vastly inferior) ones. There's a secondary action theme which is also good - apparently Mancina was aiming for a John Barry / James Bond vibe, and it doesn't sound like that (save from using the opening riff of the Bond theme), but it's pretty decent.
Finally, there's a very pleasant guitar theme ("The Boys Find Max") which is the score's best feature - genuinely lovely, I'm surprised Mancina managed to get it in here, but it works well. However - about 26 minutes of the album have passed by this stage. The music has already said everything it is going to say - but there are still 45 minutes left! I suspect it will only be the hardcore Media Ventures fans who will be able to stomach the whole lot in one sitting - but I hope that doesn't put off others, because edited down, this would certainly be one of the superior Zimmer-style action scores which aren't written by the man himself.