Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Monday, October 23, 2006

CD REVIEW - Remo Williams - The Adventure Begins...

Remo Williams - The Adventure Begins...
Music by Craig Safan
Perseverance Records PRD 010 (U.S.)
30 Tracks 69:41 mins

Previously available only as a rare promo, Perserverance have done us all a big favour in issuing this 1985 score commercially.
The title of this film suggests the first in a series, but unfortunately that just didn't happen, which is a shame as it's actually quite an enjoyable film, which starred Fred Ward as a cop, whose death is faked so he can join a covert organization called CURE, where he is trained as a deadly assassin by a mysterious Korean martial arts master, Chiun, played by Cabaret star Joel Grey in heavy makeup. Obviously these days it would probably not be politically correct for Grey to play the role, but I have to say he invests the part with great integrity and believability. Director of the film was James Bond veteran Guy Hamilton.
Composer of the film's score was Craig Safan, fresh from his triumph with The Last Starfighter and, on the strength of that, Remo and his subsequent 1991 score for Son of the Morning Star, it is difficult to see why he didn't quite make it as a film composer, retreating into the world of TV.
As with Starfigther, Safan came up with another memorable main theme for Remo, starting with a brassy fanfare before seguing into a catchy beat driven theme, sometimes with simulated gunshots, which first appears in the "Main Title," after Chiun's splendid pseudo-oriental theme opens.
Safan's score is a mix of orchestra and electronics, perhaps somewhat ahead of its time and there is much action and suspense to follow throughout the album, highlighting one element or the other and sometimes combining the two very effectively, with the two main themes, particularly Remo's, making its presence felt. Chiun's is saved for more specific moments, though Safan did enlist a 9-piece Korean ensemble to add authentic sounds to the mix. And they indeed add a strange, somewhat otherwordly quality to the score. The bad guys get their own dark electronic music which becomes more prevelant towards the end of the score, and there's much stealthy music as Remo infiltrates them, climaxing in firstly, a lengthy "Log Chase," which features Remo's and Chiun's themes strongly," and then the concluding "Chiun Walks on Water/Remo's Big Ending," which sees Chiun's theme take flight wonderfully as he literally walks on water as he and Remo finally defeat the villains.
The disc is accompanied by Perseverance's usual high quality booklet, featuring plenty of colour stills from the film, plus Randall Larson's excellent essay on the film and its music, which incorporates comments from the composer himself.
I'm very pleased to finally have such an excellent representation of this score in my collection, and recommend you visit for details of all their releases.


Post a Comment

<< Home