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Sunday, July 11, 2010


Speed 2: Cruise Control
Music by Mark Mancina
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1138 (US)
14 Tracks 70:24 mins

I guess this 1997 sequel to Jan De Bont's hugely popular Speed was doomed to failure without the talents of Keanu Reeves on board the runaway cruise liner, central to the story, although Sandra Bullock did return and her career continued to go from strength to strength. As for her new co-star, Jason Patric, well that's maybe another story. For myself, ignoring the original, I find Speed 2 works pretty well as a straight forward action adventure - I've certainly seen worse!
Composer Mark Mancina also returned for the sequel, following his acclaimed music for the original, and here he had a bigger budget, allowing him huge orchestral forces, enabling him to come up with a score that actually plays better on CD than Speed did, as well as working perfectly on the film.
Of course, he had to feature his original Speed theme, and it plays well in tandem with a new "Cruise Control" theme, both of which dominate the action sequences, of which there are of course plenty. Willem Dafoe is the villain of the piece, and Mancina came up with a suitably menacing and, at times, quite eerie theme for his character, which plays against the more heroic elements of the score. Bookending all this is a sunny and very catchy little Caribbean-styled number, complete with steel band. With only 14 cues on the album, you can imagine that most of these are quite lengthy, allowing plenty of room for development and making for a much more satisfying listening experience than a good many score CDs these days, with their minute-and-a-half-long tracks.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high quality booklet, featuring plenty of colour stills from the film, together with Daniel Schweiger's incredibly detailed notes on the film and its music.
It's taken a long time for this excellent score to surface on CD and not only does it feature all of the music heard in the film, but a good deal that was recorded but ultimately unused. Once more, we have La-La Land Records to thank for its resurrection, and a generous run of 3000 copies should enable most of you to grab one, but I shouldn't delay. Go to where, if you are unfamiliar with the score, you can first check out some samples, before ordering.


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