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The Expendables by Brian Tyler

The Expendables

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The Expendables (Soundtrack) by Brian Tyler

The Expendables
Composed by Brian Tyler
Lions Gate Records (2010)

Rating: 6/10

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Soundclips below from AmazonMP3


“ Your other soundtrack CDs will cower in fear from the total awesomeness of this CD on your library shelf.  ”

Review by Steve Townsley

For what seemed an inevitable (if somewhat late-coming) mash-up of action movie awesomeness, BRAIN TYLER’s score for THE EXPENDABLES is somewhat...formulaic? I hesitate to describe it as such, because I’m still waiting for it to “hit” me. For a project of this calibre, I want overblown, over-the-top music. Instead, a fairly standard action-movie score, with pulsing beats and drawn out winds and strings is delivered. This doesn’t make the score bad by any means, not for someone who likes the odd action score.

However, for the composer who made such a big first impression with powerhouse works like CHILDREN OF DUNE, and cues like “Summon the Worms” (a piece that is sure to secure Tyler’s immortality amongst epic-movie trailers editors), the merely serviceable score for THE EXPENDABLES feels like a step to the side. Do I expect too much from a still-“junior” film composer? Perhaps. If that is the case, though, at whom do I shake my fist? To be fair, I’m still waiting to catch the accompanying film, but I am still of a sort that likes to listen to scores before I see the movie. Based on the casting roster, (Stallone, Statham, Willis, Li, et. al.) I want to hear the the skies rock! I want the faux-Bruckheimer score that Harry Gregson-Williams provided for TEAM AMERICA and the action-genre pastiche that Theodore Shapiro gave TROPIC THUNDER. Granted, those films were comedies that treated their subjects with an almost straight-laced mock-epic quality...but really, should I take any movie that delivers--in one celluloid package--Rambo, The Transporter, John McClane, Wong Fei-hung, Ivan Drago, The Terminator, a smattering of WWF standards, and...ah...Mickey Rourke....seriously? Besides, the album art features an estimated eleventy-one billion automatic firearms and John-Rambo trademark-bad-guy-stabbers all garnishing a Big Freaking Skull. Your other soundtrack CDs will cower in fear from the total awesomeness of this CD on your library shelf.

So, anyway...out of context, the score may fall a little dry on the ears. The opening march gets you a little excited, because you can just imagine the cast being backlit and walking down a silvery hall in John Woo-style slow motion. What follows are a couple of typical action-y style cues. There’s a good hint at action in the end of “Ravens and Skulls” (Track 3) . And then, probably the highlight of the score (for me), in “Lee and Lacy”. This bluesy guitar and piano track reminds me of Tyler’s work in the ponderous horror film “Bubba Ho-Tep”, and given that “Bubba” was about a forgotten-but-not-gone American legend reclaiming his former glory, I think that the inclusion and comparison in this film/soundtrack is probably not amiss. Track 5-6: More Action. Track 7, “Confession” is a slower, more ambient piece which provides a nice break for the listener. Track 9, Track 10...Even More Action. Track 11’s a nice curiosity--”The Contact”. The Latin flavor here is reminiscent of Stallone’s Miami-based “The Specialist”. 12, 13, 14...17, 18 Action, Action, Action. Track 19 I like...the track is titled “Time to Leave”, and again reminding the reader that I haven’t seen the movie, listening to the track is what I imagine to be the the cliched (but fun) ending where the highly qualified team of million-dollar movie stars and wrestlers has pulled off a giant caper of some nature, and someone’s just set the timer on a giant bomb, and now it’s..”time to leave.” The music seems to suggest this. There’s a “Mayhem and Finale” track after this, but...the finale doesn’t seem as grandiose as it could be. Come on! Shouldn’t there be more fireworks and electric guitars?

For what they are, I like all the parties involved here. The filmmakers, the stars, the composer. (Ok, maybe I’m not the biggest WWF fan.) Maybe BRIAN TYLER was playing contrast to the actors by not over-doing the score. Still, playing it like a sincere action film seems to make for an otherwise average action score.

Rating: 6/10

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 The  Expendables 3:32  *****
2 Aerial 2:59  ****
3 Ravens and Bulls 4:49  **
4 Lee and Lacy 2:15  ***
5 Massive 3:24  *****
6 The Gulf of Aden 6:57  **
7 Lifeline 4:30  **
8 Confession 2:57  **
9 Royle Rumble 3:42  ***
10 Scanning the Enemy 3:47  **
11 The Contact 1:31  **
12 Surveillance 3:27  ****
13 Warriors 3:49  **
14 Trinity 4:19  **
15 Waterboard 3:01  ***
16 Losing His Mind 2:37  **
17 Take Your Money 2:42  **
18 Giant with a Shotgun 3:58  **
19 Time to Leave 1:55  **
20 Mayhem and Finale 5:48  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 72 minutes  



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