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Saturday, August 07, 2010


The Expendables
Music by Brian Tyler
Lionsgate Records (US)
Silva Screen Records SILCD1339 (UK)
20 Tracks 71:50 mins

For fans of the action genre of the past three or four decades, The Expendables is surely a must see. Directed by Sylvester Stallone, the incredible cast includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, and of course Stallone himself.
After a successful collaboration with Stallone on his return to the Rambo character, the actor/director again turned to Brian Tyler to provide the score, which is to be released in the States both digitally and as a disc-on-demand by Lionsgate Records; and here in the UK on CD and as a digital download by Silva Screen Records from 23rd August.
Reflecting the Middle-Eastern and South American locations of the story, Tyler incorporates suitable colours to his orchestral/choral/electronic forces; as is often the case, playing the various ethnic instruments himself, as well as Flamenco guitar.
Normally Tyler conducts but, due to the grounding of flights in Europe because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, he was unable to attend the orchestral sessions in Prague, having to guide proceedings via video link.
No stranger to the genre, the composer has provided many a fine action score in recent years but, unlike some of his contemporaries, he usually comes up with thematically based music - his love of strong themes being reflected in his recent work on updating Morton Stevens' classic Hawaii Five-O theme for the forthcoming TV revival. And his "Expendables Theme" gets this generous album off to a good start - a full blown, propulsive and vaguely heroic piece, which builds to a nice crescendo.
Of course, Tyler's action scoring dominates and there is plenty to get excited about in the likes of "Aerial," "Ravens and Skulls," "Massive," "Royal Rumble," "Warriors," "Waterboard," "Time to Leave," with the ethnic elements first making their presence felt in the alternately mysterious and percussion-heavy "The Gulf of Aden," and the Flamenco guitar, albeit briefly, in "Lifeline."
In amongst the action, there is of course some tension and suspense, but this seldom lasts too long before the fireworks get going.
But it's not action all the way, with "Lee and Lacy" providing some electric guitar-lead romance; "Confession" some poignancy; and "The Contact," a pleasant Flamenco interlude."
It all comes to a head in the five-minute-plus "Mayhem and Finale," where, after the decisive action, the main theme returns predominantly in rather solemn fashion, presumably remembering the fallen.
All-in-all, another entertaining score from Tyler, who is "Mr. Reliable" when it comes to this kind of action fare.


Blogger riddim1903 said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the review, it is truly easy to expect a score to be in a certain way after reading your opinions. If this score is to your liking, chances are I would find it agreable, the reason I say this is because the three guys especially, namely Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger are three people I can't stand. Although I must be just about Aaahnold. That weird smirk on Willis's face was what ticked me off years ago:) As for Stallone, I think most of the trees in the forest are better actors than he.

Although I must totally agree with your astute assesment about Mr. Bates, and the melodic hook. He reminds me of Mr. H. Zimmer in that respect, although some Zimmer deciphels like K. Badelt, Atli Orvarsson are seriously difficult for me to sink my "ears" into.

Even with Messrs. Zimmer and Bates it takes a very thorough and concentrated second listen for me to see if I enjoy it or not. Again one my "un"favourite actors Nicholas Cage soured the already hard to watch Bangkok Dangerous for me. After the film I listened to my own soundtrack, which makes me agree with Mr. Bates's melodic tendency. May I also suggest that most of contemporary composers give me the "cookie cutter" impression.

I only wish that Rachel Portman and Randy Edelman found more frequent projects.

I still am very appreciative of your gesture for me, with "The Return to River Kwai". That was absolutely so kind of you. I remember that you used to frequent my blog more often. I wonder whether it is perhasps the lack of time, or is it because you have difficulty getting back into the blog. I have never changed your member features, so you should be able to log in as before.

If this is not the case, I'd be happy to have you come around again. For any help or message, please send an e-mail to:

Best of health to you:)


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