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Enjoyable, clinical modern action score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall
Video game adaptations on the big screen have not been the happiest filmgoing experiences in general, yet the studios clearly believe there is a massive audience there to exploit with this sort of thing, and so they keep on coming. Hitman is the latest and - probably much to the surprise of everyone, even Twentieth Century Fox - received more-than-respectable reviews. It's possibly because the plot of the game - assassin-for-hire trawls round the world doing his dirty deeds - is clearly pretty filmic anyway, so actually making it into a film wasn't much of a stretch.
It's the first American film directed by Frenchman Xavier Gens, and (as so many European directors seem to do when they go Hollywood) he turned to Hans Zimmer's stable for the music, in this instance providing Geoff Zanelli with the chance to write his first big solo score. The sound of modern action movies has been pretty much defined by one of Zanelli's former colleagues, John Powell, and Hitman is the latest score to be clearly, and heavily, influenced by Powell's Bourne scores. The string runs, the percussion (sampled and real) and the chilly atmosphere are all familiar, though the melodies are completely Zanelli's own and there are more than enough fresh ideas here to prevent it having the "Haven't I heard this somewhere before?" feeling of some other, recent thriller scores.
The use of a (manipulated) female vocal is nothing new, but does give the score a certain handle. It's sexy and stylish, and for once the use of drum loops adds to that feeling rather than making it sound too cheap. Hitman has an extremely contemporary sound, and a typical Zimmer-style knack of making the real orchestra sound like it's a bunch of keyboards (why anyone would choose to orchestrate in that way is still a great mystery to me, even after all these years of Zimmer doing it) - but it's good, completely inoffensive fun and makes for a nice, tight album.