"A Good Die To Die Hard"
26 Tracks/Disc Time: 64:18 Grade: A-
With Die Hard celebrating its' 25th Anniversary this year for which the film has become an instant classic and one of the all-time action films thanks to the star making charisma of then Moonlighting star Bruce Willis and a great storyline with endless one liners that even repeated or spoofed since then. After the surprise success of Die Hard, a sequel was envitable and Die Hard 2 became one of 1990's top box office hits scoring a then impressive 119 million dollars that summer. Despite the success that both Die Hard and its sequel, it would take another five years to see John McClane back on the screen and would still score big with box office movie goers as Die Hard With A Vengeance would be another blockbuster. Still it would be almost another decade to see another Die Hard in theaters and Live Free Or Die Hard, turned out to be a surprise success and a reminder that Die Hard is definitely a bankable franchise for Twentieth Century-Fox and that John McClane is still one of the silver screen's most iconic action stars. "A Good Day To Die Hard" has proven to be another hit with fans of the series and moviegoers despite its lackluster reviews and the lowest for the series without question. This adventure takes our hero John McClane (Willis) to Russia where he meets up with his son Jack (Jai Courtney) who is working for the C.I.A. to try and thwart a group of terrorists (not surprising) to prevent a heist of nuclear weapons being masterminded by some shady underworld associates to tell them to the highest bidder. This installment was directed by John Moore (Flight of the Phoenix, Max Payne).
The films themselves had a great musical history that speaks for itself led by the late Michael Kamen, who's inspired use of "Singing In The Rain" and "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Ode To Joy" has become the signature theme for the films. Kamen did use Jean Sibelius' tone poem "FInlandia" as part of Die Hard 2's winter setting and the wonderful "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" for Die Hard With A Vengeance the then series finale, was a lot of fun. When Die Hard was revived, Kamen had since passed away and someone had to continue the Die Hard musical tradition. Marco Beltrami was the choice that "Live Free Or Die Hard" director Len Wiseman chose after working with him previously on Underworld: Awakening. Beltrami wrote an enjoyable and exciting action score that only hinted at Kamen's past works for the series but had its' own unique voice. With this score, Beltrami really cut loose and write an exciting, exhilarating score in Kamen's traditional style and easily is the film's definitive saving grace up to this point.
Beltrami's work for this film is just plain exciting and energetic. Sheer bombast at times and just pure joy in which you could easily tell that he was more at home with this score than the previous one. Beltrami opens the album touching on "Ode To Joy" as inspiration in "Yuri Says" and immediately you know that you're in a Die Hard movie. This album without question is all and purely action with Beltrami's voice merging with Kamen's inspiration in mind pulling out all the stops as Kamen had done in the original with purely bombastic and energetic action ("Truckzilla Act One, Truckzilla Act Two, Leaving The Safe House, Get To The Choppa!, Chopper Takedown) the latter track really does quote a dead on Kamen inspired motif from the original films that really send great exciting chills down your spine. Beltrami also has a little fun with his own material as well with lighthearted tracks that do mix in action in "Yippie Kay Yay, Mother Russia!, Scumbags, Triple Vodka Rhapsody and McClane's Brain). The latter two tracks are really fun and the first time in a while since the original trilogy to evoke some hints of musicial fun in the material that is consistant with the score which is a breath of fresh air.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from this outing from the Die Hard series musically and this one might have to be one of the best in the series in quite sometime and I've really enjoyed all of the scores. In terms of paying ode to the original series, this one is definitely the closest one to almost match the original Die Hard. Beltrami really had a great time with this one and it really shows with this tremendous effort here which will really please fans of the series without a doubt. Sony Classical's album is a solid production all the way through and there's plenty of music to savor here for its hour plus running time. If there's one minor quibble, is that the score will wear you out after a while and despite this, it is still a great listen. "A Good Day To Die Hard" is easily one of the most exciting scores I've heard so far this year and the most energetic without a doubt. Definitely recommended.