"Bullet To The Head"
Music By Steve Mazzaro
Varese Sarabande VSD-7180
15 Tracks/DIsc Time: 42:15 Grade: C+
A few weeks ago, an aging action superstar attempted his comeback with the action-thriller, The Last Stand and that was Arnold Schwarzenegger, which unfortunately has come and gone amist better films such as Les Miserables, Argo and many others. Within the next week, Bruce Willis will also make his action studded return as John McClane in A Good Day To Die Hard on Valentine's Day, but right smack in the middle of Arnie and Bruce is Sylvester Stallone, who's enjoyed resounding success with The Expendables and its sequel which have made serious box office coin and also which Arnold and Bruce were also in both films marking the first time that the three iconic action stars were in the same movie together. Bullet To The Head is Sly's latest film for famed action producer, Joel Silver and the very underapperciated, action director Walter Hill (The Driver, 48 Hours, The Warriors, Johnny Handsome) who's last directorial effort was the solid prison boxing drama, Undisputed starring Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames. Stallone stars as James Bonomo also known as Jimmy Bobo in mob underworld circles is a New Orleans hit man who along with his partner (Jon Seda), have completed one final job which is eliminating a corrupt Police Officer with ties to a sleazy criminal named Morel (Adewele Akkinuoyle-Agbaye, OZ., Lost). When Morel's muscle Keegan (Jason Momosa), kills both Jimmy's partner and the partner of a Washington D.C. detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang, Fast And The Furious), they form a rather uneasy alliance to eliminate their respective enemy while risking the life of Jimmy's daughter Lisa (Sarah Sahani) and shaking down Morel's sleazy socialite associate (Christian Slater), with whom Stallone has a fun time torturing.
As with many of Walter Hill's movies in the past, the music has sounded more on the blusey side of things thanks mainly to the collaboration between Hill and guitarist Ry Cooder who scored no less than seven of his films. However, Hill did branch out to some terrific composers as well which include Jerry Goldsmith (Extreme Prejudice), James Horner (48 Hours, Red Heat), Elmer Bernstein (Last Man Standing), David Williams (Supernova) and Stanley Clarke (Undisputed). For this film, Hill chose newcomer Steve Mazzaro to write the music for this film which is more in keeping with Hill's style of music which is blusey and always featuring a guitar motif along with some cool synthesizers. Mazzaro, who's worked under the tutalidge of Academy Award Winner Hans Zimmer did not disappoint and I was quite surprised at how much I really liked this score.
From the onset with "Here's The Story" which opens the album, is a long mood building track that incorporates the blues style quite effectively even throwing in a harmonica to the proceedings and establishes this as the score's central theme that really does get a workout throughout the album's forty-two minute running time. The main theme also resembles that of a Western and throws in some Cooder inspired guitar licks. Mazzaro infuses more moods and suspense build ups in "Don't Touch My Gun", "The Fox And The Hound", "Just Another Soldier", and "The Only Life He Had" that make use of the theme in a laid back fashion at times. There is some action tracks, but not in the in your face style that one might expect in "Ambushed", "End Of The Line" and "It's All Over", that is also in keeping with the theme. "Bullet To The Head" ends the album with a good reprise of Mazzaro's energetic main theme and variations. Varese's album is a solid produced work that really does showcase this newcomers range, but if I have one major quibble, is that it is too repetitive at times that did grow somewhat tiresome after a few listens. However, it is a score that is very solid and balanced that fans of Western and Blues scores will enjoy it as much as I did thinking about Ry Cooder. Bullet To The Head is not your conventional over the top action score, but a really effective one that has a catchy theme and is alot of fun. This is a stellar debut score by Steve Mazzaro and I'm really looking forward to his next score in the near future. Recommended with its kick ass theme.