Soundtrack Album Review
Music By Clinton Shorter
17 Tracks/Disc Time: 39:08
Last year right around this time, "2 Guns" blew up on the big screen with Oscar Winner Denzel Washington and Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg co-starring in an adaptation of Steven Grant's graphic comic book series. The film stars Washington as Robert Trench, a fast talking undercover DEA agent who takes advantage of gunman Michael Stigman's (Wahlberg) idea to rob a bank to bust him and a mob boss named Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos, "Miami Vice"). However, it proves too successful with much more money seized than anticipated with Trench's forces not stopping the getaway. Things get even more complicated when Stigman turns out to be a Naval Intelligence agent who turns on Trench and takes the money for himself. The internal juristictional trouble suddenly finds Trench and Stigman in a bloody web of corruption as they are hunted, blackmailed and isolated for the money on both sides of the law with Papi Greco and a relentless and smooth talking cowboy bounty hunter Earl (Bill Paxton, "Aliens") hunting them down and soon they have to reluctantly work together to beat their advisaries to stay alive. The film was a very solid and critical hit that thrilled fans and also became a best selling Blu-Ray and DVD late last year.
Reunited with director Baltazar Kormakur after writing the tense action score for "Contraband" which also starred Wahlberg, composer Clinton Shorter has come up with a very cool score for this film which pretty much plays out like a modern day Western score with contemporary rhythms and reminds me a bit of Joe Kraemer's most excellent and underrated score to the 2000 film, "The Way Of The Gun". You can almost say that that score inspired this one in a way because the musical base is stylistically similar and they are fun. A score that is almost completely electronic in nature with a cool Western guitar motif that seeps through the rest of the score that is adrenaline charged and a perfect fit for the film.
Opening with the rock driven and Western influenced "The Tracks", which Shorter sets up the score's main theme that is very funky and energetic closing with a cool motif for acoustic guitar and an organ. The score reaches a darker tone in the following track "No Options" a brooding piece that keeps building and building tension much like the guitar driven "Not Now" and "03:05",and then switches gears with the fun and hip 70's styled funk of "Money" and which is one of the fun highlights of this score and album along with "Special Beans", "Sorry Sir", and "Pick Up The Phone". Then there's a mood and cool Morricone-influenced "Earl", which features a really cool guitar motif that is very moody and elegant that perfectly reflects Bill Paxton's character in the film. The score does features some nice action tracks in "Boom", "Einstein", and "Trucks And Choppers", with the latter track really featuring the Western theme to a full propulsive tilt with the guitars and electronics getting a full workout. "Arm Or Leg" ends the tracks on a light and funky note and the polar opposite of the opening track, but still keeping the Western motif and keeping the 70's funk which is a great way to end the score.
"2 Guns" was originally released as a digital download by Universal last year and it took a full year to the day that the film was released (August 2013) that this soundtrack has been released a physical CD and perhaps it's because I may have mentioned in my interview with Clinton months ago about how great this score was and may have spurred on a physical CD which is a good thing to see. Shorter's score is fun and continues a positive musical streak that keeps going higher and higher with every score that includes this years' "Pompeii" since his debut score for the Oscar nominated "District 9". "2 Guns" isn't a score for everyone, but alot will appreciate it's fun, breezy intensity that doesn't wear out its welcome especially for an action score of this nature. It's not an entirely memorable score, but it gets a thumbs up for fun.