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SHOOT 'EM UP
Unimaginative, bland rock instrumentals for action film
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 New Line Productions, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
A dreadful-looking film with an outstanding cast (Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci), Shoot 'Em Up is some kind of postmodern action film. The music was provided by Paul Haslinger, erstwhile member of Tangerine Dream, whose continuing employment as providers of film music over a pretty long period from the mid-1980s was one of the more inexplicable aspects of that decade. Since the band went their separate ways, a couple of them have tried their hand at writing solo film scores, but I'm not sure there's been a good one from any of them yet.
Haslinger's most prominent score is probably Underworld, but he's racked up a couple of dozen since going solo. None has left an impression on me, but clearly someone's impressed. Shoot 'Em Up is the sort of score which probably works well enough in its film, but the sort of person who enjoys the soundtrack album is not likely to be a fan of traditional film scores - it's a different demographic being chased here, and whatever that demographic is it certainly doesn't include people like me!
Mostly grungy rock music played by drum, bass and guitars, there's no real melody here, little evidence of any dramatic interest in the film, it just seems to be music for music's sake, which is just fine if you like this type of thing. For me it works best when it sounds most like film music, though this isn't often - when some synth strings are added and it is obviously serving some dramatic purpose, there is a driving force to the music which generates a bit of interest. I guess it's meant to be a bit like some of David Holmes's scores, but it doesn't ever feel quite so funky as those - I'm sure there will be some who like it, and I acknowledge again that I know I'm not in the target audience here, but Shoot 'Em Up is pretty obnoxious for the most part and not an album that many fans of mainstream film scores will find much to like about.