"Blown Away (1994)
Intrada Special Collection Vol.264
34 Tracks/Disc Time: 73:34
IN the Summer of 1994 which already had the makings of what could've been a great summer for action films leading off with the now classic action-thriller "Speed"and Arnold Schwarzenegger's engaging "True Lies" directed by James Cameron. Unfortunately, that Summer also had major action duds such as "Bevely Hills Cop", and "The Shadow". "Blown Away" which was another ballyhooed mad-bomber action-thriller that was released just before the Fourth of July and in the really long shadow of "Speed" which was already a summer blockbuster and the film also had to contend with other certified blockbusters in "The Flintstones", and "The Lion King" and the Oscar Winning "Forrest Gump" was also hot on the heels of this film for release. The film starred Jeff Bridges as Jimmy Dove, the leader of an elite Boston Bomb Squad who has a rather mysterious past that would soon come to haunt him after his retirement from the unit. After a former colleague of his is murdered with a device that looks all too familiar to him, Dove starts to suspect that it was a message from an old friend, a former Irish Army member Ryan Gaerity (Oscar Winner Tommy Lee Jones, "The Fugitive"). Gaerity had just escaped from a prison off the Irish coast (one of the exciting moments in the film) and headed to Boston to wreck havoc on the city and make Dove pay for his personal sins against him putting his wife (Suzy Amis, "Titanic") and his friends on the squad (Oscar Winner Forest Whitaker, "The Last King Of Scotland") in grave danger unless he reveals the truth about his past and putting an end to Gaerity's rage once and for all.
The film was skillfully directed by Stephen Hopkins, who had scored high marks with the popular "Predator 2" sequel and equally entertaining "Judgment Night" starring Emilio Estevez, Oscar Winner Cuba Gooding Jr., Jeremy Piven and Denis Leary. The film which did feature a grand spectacular finale (which I will not spoil) unfortunately was not enough to ensure a blockbuster hit along with the excellent performances by Bridges and Jones who were the perfect duo to play this cat and mouse game of fiery explosions. To match this perfectly was another worthy collaborator in the musical persona of composer Alan Silvestri, who was having a rather busy year when this film came along that had already included the comedy "Clean Slate", the live action version of "Richie Rich", the engaging Western "The Quick And The Dead" and the Oscar Winning "Forrest Gump". While those scores were lean and full of lush material, "Blown Away" was a more muscular effort that featured his trademark action and suspense material that has made him one of the best in the business for thrilling action. The score also features a more Irish tone that Silvestri hadn't previously explored before in a film score and that's what makes this score one of his very best without a doubt.
Starting with "Prince's Day (Main Titles)" based on an Irish folk song complete with a wordless vocal that preceeds the events of Jones' characters' escape from the prison ("The Escape") that starts out with a bombastic statement of the score's main theme then switching to a more frenetic but subtle theme for Gaerity incorporating an airy flute motif that pretty much dominates the score and is quite memorable and creepy at the same time. The score essentially is all suspense and action also plays at odds musically switching between Gaerity's revenge antics and Dove's futility to stop him at least until the final reel. Highlighted by the tension filled tracks "Bomb Squad", "Bomb Site", "Playing The Angle", "Trolley Bomb Site", "Explosive Headset" and the score's central and lengthy highlight "Red Herring Du Jour", that really plays the theme both ways featuring atmospheric techniques that just let the tension build and build to a reprise of the flute motif. "Saint Max" another highlight features a lovely angelic choir as another important person in Dove's life pays for his past sins leading to a rather rousing finale that incorporates a little bit of his "Predator" music and "Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture" perfectly in the tracks "At The Dolphin", "Nail Bomb", Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture (Last Bomb)", "Tchaikovksy's 1812 Overture (Bomb Struggle), "Final Fight" and "Brakeless In Boston", the latter two tracks are rousing and frenetic action pieces of work that really exceptional in it's orchestrations by William Ross and really make the score standout alot more. The incorporation of the Tchaikovsky pieces are inspired because they're exceptionally well placed during the frenetic last half and perfectly edited to give the film more energy and urgency.
Intrada's album is really one that is long time in coming because when the film was released, there was an album produced but it featured mostly songs that were featured in the film itself and a lone track featuring Silvestri's stellar work was featured. On the 20th Anniversary of the film, the score finally makes its' grand debut and with positive results because it is a score that is really over looked in the filmography of the terrific composer who really showed his grand and powerful action licks as well as showing us another side of his versitillity as a composer. It is a very aggressive and frenetic work that would really pave the way for future scores like "Eraser", "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and "Volcano" in the years ahead. The film is also underappreciated for what it is and also deserves another shot at rediscovery and for the performances of Bridges and Jones who to match each other perfectly wit for wit with Silvestri backing up all the way. A solid release. Thumbs up!