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

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Bad Boys
Music by Mark Mancina (with Nick Glennie-Smith)
La-La Land LLLCD 1057 (US)
17 Tracks 70:32 mins

Once in a while (and more often these days than used to be the case) a specialist soundtrack label does a great service to the film score fan and this is one of those occasions. For more than ten years we've been lamenting the absence on record of Mark Mancina's highly enjoyable score for the cinematic success of 1995 that was Michael Bay's Bad Boys, an equally enjoyable mix of thrills and laughs that really broke buddy cop pairing Will Smith and Martin Lawrence cinematically in a big way.
Of course it's a score right out of the Hans Zimmer Media Ventures stable, and has that big and distinct sound that graced so many films of the time, but where it differed was that it boasted a fine, rhythmic main theme, somewhat reggae influenced, even going so far as to feature the sound of steel drums at times, that the composer was not afraid to use and use often. Yes, it could be more serious when it had to be, like in the exciting action sequences, but it could also be lightly comedic and downright sneaky.
As I mentioned there is plenty of exciting action writing to get your teeth into, but also quieter poignant and romantic moments, featuring acoustic guitar and piano. In fact, it's just a thoroughly enjoyable score, totally suited to the picture, and aiding not inconsiderably to the success thereof.
Accompanying the disc is a colourful12-page booklet, featuring stills from the film, Randall D. Larson's essay on the film and score, which includes comments from Mancina, as well as full orchestra credits.
La-La Land Records' limited edition release is restricted to just 3000 units and I should imagine they are selling like hotcakes, so I shouldn't delay in seeking out a copy.

Superman: Doomsday
Music by Robert J. Kral
La-La Land LLLCD 1063 (US)
26 Tracks 57:34 mins

Australian composer Robert J. Kral is probably best known for his music for the successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series Angel, for which he wrote some pretty fine music, given the restrictions of episodic TV. He now brings his mix of synths and samples to this animated adaptation of the most successful graphic novel of all time, The Death of Superman. What, Superman dies? Surely it's not possible, is it? Well, it's not for me to say - go see the film!
As for Kral's score, well it all gets off to a great start, with an heroic new theme for the iconic hero, which is slightly spoilt by the synths taking the lead, where real brass (or samples at least) would have been so much better. The theme does crop up in subsequent battle scenes with Doomsday, but the killer's lumbering and powerful music gradually overwhelms it, with evil definitely triumphing. Following all this conflict, which culminates with something of a moving elegy for the fallen superhero, followed by a brief moment for sad piano, the score takes a much quieter, supporting role, with much darkness and mystery, with just a glimmer of hope here and there. It does however gradually gain momentum until combat is again resumed in a much more purposeful and positive manner, with welcome bursts of heroism and triumph, whilst still staying somewhat restrained at the outcome. The disc closes with a reprise of the heroic Superman theme, with a nod to to the Doomsday material bridging it.
As with the label's Bad Boys release, another attractive booklet accompanies the disc, featuring stills from the film, together with notes from the composer, as well as producer/co-director Bruce Timm.
Visit to keep up with all the label's current and forthcoming releases, and go to for an extensive interview with Robert J.Kral.


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