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Relatively standard Powell action score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2008 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall
Director Doug Liman seemed to have a real edge to him in his earlier films, notably Swingers and Go, so it's a little disappointing that he seems to have become content making entirely ordinary Hollywood fare, culminating now with Jumper, a science fiction thriller with Hayden Christensen playing a young man who is able to teleport himself around the planet at will. Reviews have been savage. Liman has established a very good relationship with composer John Powell, whose music for Liman's The Bourne Identity established a new sound for Hollywood action movies; and Mrs and Mrs Smith (probably slightly unfairly maligned by critics) was a great effort from the composer.
This time round, it's not entirely surprising that the music is essentially more of the same. The opening cue, "My Day So Far", presents an excellent, brassy main theme, though surprisingly Powell makes somewhat sparse use of it through the score. The sound is by now very familiar - the sophisticated synth percussion is a step up from the composer's peers, and it's augmented as usual by guitars, ambient synths as well as an orchestra. The danger for Powell is that he has established such a particular style - and now that it's been copied by many others for several scores over the last couple of years - it might just start to become a little stale. When he injects as much life into it as in the last Bourne score then there's no problem - but unless he's careful, he may end up just sounding like the other, cheaper and less talented composers who are copying him elsewhere.
The injection here of slightly exotic elements (a look at the album cover reveals why) is a help, but ultimately there is a slight feeling that you've heard this music done a few too many times now. It has style and panache, but also deja vu, so while it would be hard to criticise the music on its own terms, it may be difficult to think of too many reasons why one might choose to listen to this and not Paycheck or The Italian Job or the Bourne scores. At its best - such as the terrific "Coliseum Fight" - this is very fine; but hopefully Powell can find a way of injecting something into his next action scores to freshen things up a little.