Visit the Movie Wave Store | Movie Wave Home | Reviews by Title | Reviews by Composer | Contact me
Stylish, entertaining thriller score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * *
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2008 Lionsgate Entertainment; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall.
In Bangkok Dangerous, Nicolas Cage plays a hit-man who is beginning to develop a conscience and wonder whether assassinating people is really a decent way of earning a living. Of course, it involves him taking on one last job before hanging up his gun, and everything starts to go horribly wrong. It's set in Bangkok (I suppose you may have guessed that); I've been to Bangkok and am pleased to report that nobody tried to assassinate me - though a few sellers were particularly aggressive at the fruit market. As is the current way of things, the film is a remake of a Hong Kong film of 1999 from the same directors - the Pang brothers (one of whom is, wonderfully, called Oxide Pang - which sounds very much like the sort of name Nicolas Cage's characters usually have in Jerry Bruckheimer films).
Providing the score is the prolific Brian Tyler, who over the last few years has become one of the most popular providers of action scores in Hollywood. These vary between orchestrally-dominated thrills in scores like Aliens vs Predator: Requiem and more rock-based things like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Bangkok Dangerous is somewhere in between those two styles - The City of Prague Philharmonic has the dominant voice here, but is augmented by guitars and percussion. If anything, perhaps this might be compared with Tyler's music for War - but fortunately it doesn't have that score's pretty blatant John Powell knock-offs.
The album opens with a surprisingly lyrical piece, an impassioned piece for strings being followed by an attractive piano theme which has a similar feel to some of James Newton Howard's scores for M. Night Shyamalan. "Assassin" introduces an anthemic action theme which is also very enjoyable. Much of the rest of the score is slightly more chilled-out, with the occasional burst into explosive action, and it makes for a very enjoyable album. Like most of Tyler's recent releases it packs as much onto the CD as possible (77 minutes here) and the music doesn't nearly sustain such a long running time - it would sound so much better with the filler cut out - but this is the model way of releasing things right now so it's no surprise any more. This is a nice score, professionally-done and pleasant to listen to.