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RUSH HOUR 3
Schifrin rounds out the trilogy with another wonderful action score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 New Line Productions, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
While I can't actually think of anything much worse than going to see a third Rush Hour film (it doesn't seem like something the filmgoing public particularly needed to be offered), Brett Ratner's trilogy of films has certainly done one wonderful thing - allowed legendary composer Lalo Schifrin, who had vanished into relative obscurity beforehand, the chance to return to the film music frontline, and he certainly didn't disappoint with the first two scores, the earlier of which was one of the finest action scores of the last decade.
Rush Hour 3 is essentially more of the same from the veteran Argentine, and that is no bad thing, beginning with the wonderful main theme. The first action comes in the brilliant "Chasing the Assassin", showing that Schifrin is still capable of providing action music of the highest energy levels - it's brilliantly-constructed, very much in the old school but still entirely appropriate for a modern film. It's the action music which really sets these scores apart - with the opportunity to incorporate some far eastern flair, it is distinctive and highly-impressive music without fail.
The action is so thrilling, but few scores, especially ones which run to any particular album length, can be particularly interesting if they offer no respite, and fortunately it does arrive in between the most blistering segments - Schifrin's an old pro, so one should expect nothing less, but it seems to be becoming rarer and rarer that a film score album really offers the kind of balance that's needed to create a well-rounded listening experience (the main downside of albums generally becoming a lot longer in recent years, I guess).
It's often been said that Schifrin was revisiting Enter the Dragon territory in these scores, and while that is obviously true to an extent, for my money they're actually better than that one - more interesting musically, but just as fun and exciting. Schifrin is 75 now so it is unlikely that he is going to be especially prolific in the years to come, but it's a real tragedy that in the last 20 years or so he has barely scored a single film of note - for such a talented composer, with such a fine body of work behind him, that just seems plain odd. As he demonstrates here, he is able to score a summer blockbuster with as much energy and vigour as a composer half his age - and this is as good as any other action score of the year so far. Highly recommended, especially to those who love the first two scores in the series (and who doesn't?)