Music By Alex Heffes
Metropolis Movie Music Ltd. (Download)
16 Tracks/Disc Time: 68:47
Grade: A- (BEST OF 2013)
Last year saw the return of the great iconic action heroes of the 80's and 90's back on the big screen in separate films outside of "The Expendables" franchise. While Bruce Willis was the fairly successful one with the atrocious "A Good Day To Die Hard" while Arnold Schwarzengger's fun, exciting "The Last Stand" and Sylvester Stallone's throwback "Bullet To The Head" were merely blips on the box office radars despite the fact that both were well made and entertaining films. Later on in the year, Arnie and Sly teamed up on the surprisingly entertaining and well crafted thriller, "Escape Plan" that should've done better at the box office than other films that came out at that time. The film stars Stallone as Ray Breslin, a security expert who gets paid to become a prisoner and then break out of prisons. Aided by his trusty staff (Vincent D'Onofrio, "Full Metal Jacket", Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone" and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'") Ray is given a new assignment: which is to break into a particular prison and collect his millions. Things go wrong when Ray is sent to a seemingly inescapable prison nicknamed "The Tomb" run by an eccentric and maniacal Warden Hobbs (Jim Cavizel, "Person of Interest") and his head guard (Vinnie Jones, "Snatch"). Ray then teams up with an eager prisoner named Rottmeyer (Schwarzenegger) who aids him in a brazen escape of the prison by all means necessary. The film was alot of fun and enjoyable for what it was and it really should've done better than it sadly did.
Aside from the film's rather intriguing storyline, Director Mikael Hafstrom recruited composer Alex Heffes, who has had a rather engaging career to date with scores such as "State Of Play", "The Fifth Grader", "Into The Void" and last year, "Mandela: Walk To Freedom", which received solid reviews. Heffes turned out to be the perfect choice for this film and what a refreshing choice it was because his score really propels the story and beautifully underscores the tension as well as the action on screen. Heffes is the other voice to both Stallone and Schwarzenegger's characters as well as that of the prison itself.
"Bendwater High Security Prison" gets the score off to a solid start with Heffes mixing some very cool electronics that blend into the following track "Escaping Bendwater" with great rhythms and propulsive action that features high energy and excitement much like the film's terrific opening sequence. "One Last Job" features some sinister dramatic underpanning leading while keeping the electronic theme in the loop. Heffes' best aspects of this score is how perfectly underscores Stallone time in the "tomb" giving it a much fuller, aggressive orchestrial sound starting with the exceptional "Enter The Tomb", and "Meeting Rottmeyer" that have a grand operatic sound to it while introducing the sustained dark material for Cavizel's character with a slithry string and progressive synth beat in the process. Suspense is also part of the game with solid material in "Where Is Here?", "Breaking Out Of The Box", "Breaking Breslin" and "Plan B - Introducing Javed" that are very melodic and do have a solid musical foundation that leads to the all out exciting finale featured in "The Riot", "Goodbye Javed" and "Escape & Finale" underscoring the entertaining final twenty or so minutes of the film. The music is just flat out good and for me, it's really easy to see why I enjoy this score so much. Heffes really put alot of great effort into writing a score that more than just functions within the film. It really has a life of its' own with alot of great material within each track that is much more than plan old wallpaper or bombastic material. This is how an action score should sound like if given the time and more importantly, the opportunity to write memorable, thematic material.
This very lengthy album features virtually the entire score as featured in the film and it is a very entertaining listen that is engaging and exciting. My major problem is that there isn't a real physical CD to actually enjoy it with and alot are missing out on a stupendous score that definitely deserves the attention. Alex Heffes is a composer is very underrepresented on CD and this score along with his terrific score to "State Of Play" really deserve CD releases to give them the proper attention they do need. "Escape Plan" is a fun, all out score that was easily one of the best action scores of last year in my view and still is to date. Highly recommended and very strong thumbs up!