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CD: Good Day to Die Hard, A (2013)
Review Rating:   Excellent  
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February 19, 2013

Tracks / Album Length:

26 tracks / (64:51)



Marco Beltrami


Special Notes:

8-page colour booklet.

Comments :    

Reunited with director John Moore, Marco Beltrami’s delivered another powerful action score filled with the aural scope and grandeur of the genre, plus nice injections of electronica, and while the film received highly disappointed reviews during its brief theatrical run, the score is one of the composer’s best action efforts, if not one of the top action scores in recent years.

Beltrami’s approach to action is maintaining a state of constant agitation using churning strings, heavy bass pulses, and layers of kinetic material – all of which establishes a momentum which in A Good Day to Die Hard - never really lets up. Moore’s small filmic output isn’t great – he’s already made the unnecessary remakes of The Omen (2006) and Flight of the Phoenix (2004) – but perhaps due to the former film, Beltrami’s studious effort to craft a sound evoking Jerry Goldsmith’s 1976 score with his own contemporary style has yielded a more firm grasp of orchestral dynamics and multi-layered rhythms.

Beltrami’s I, Robot (2004) was also an important stepping stone wherein the composer found the right mix of depicting a story's dramatic scope, its potent humanist theme, and kinetic music for a series of elaborate pursuits and evasions, whereas his first Die Hard film – Live Free or Die Hard (2007) – forced a need to add some self-referential humour, in addition to evoking the sound of the franchise’s pre-eminent composer, Michael Kamen.

Sony’s CD begins with a quote of Kamen’s witty use of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” and in several cues there are short quotations of Kamen’s original suspense theme (both Beethoven + Kamen’s spiraling figures are neatly interwoven in “To the Safe House”). Like Kamen, Beltrami also has fun with the inherent goofiness of the franchise, and while not quoting classical works as Kamen had done in each of the first three films, there are some allusions in Live Free to James Bond through some striking brass orchestrations (“Truckzilla (Act 2)”), and eerie chords that are softly reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann.

Rare slow cues excepted (“Father & Son”), Good Day is all muscle, and Sony’s CD offers a solid action narrative within a meaty 64 minute presentation.



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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