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Review of Money Train – Limited Edition Score

Money Train

Money Train

Original Motion Picture Score

Mark Mancina continues to be the composer I am listening to lately. Here’s my review of his score from Money Train. This was released by La La Land Records a few years ago! Check out my thoughts on the music and the film.

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AFTER CHEERS, but BEFORE Now You See Me… There was Money Train for Woody Harrelson. AFTER Demolition Man, Drop Zone, Passenger 57, and Major League, but BEFORE Blade and so much more there was Money Train for Wesley Snipes. Wesley and Woody, two actors you’d never think to pair up. Then there’s Jennifer Lopez… before she was the over the top star that she is today. She was in Money Train as Officer Santiago… yeah you remember! I freakin’ love this film. I always have and always will. It’s about two foster brothers John and Charlie. One is a suave smooth kinda guy, and the other is a foul up! <— That right there is a reference to the edited for tv version of the film. So the plot here is just what you might think it is. Charlie wants to rob the money train to solve all his problems. The way the characters are written is damn good. Once again another 90s action-thriller film, that I absolutely love. While I really like Speed from 1994, having re discovered Money Train… wow it’s like I’m in love with this movie. It’s that damn good in my mind. With a film being that damn good, it needs a damn fine score to accompany it. Mark Mancina is just the man to do that.

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Mancina’s score here offers everything an action film should have. High intense action cues, and low and slow emotional cues. The low and slow cues come in two different aspects of the film’s story. The first is the emotional charisma between John and Charlie as brothers. The second is in the love themes for Wesley and J-Lo. For me the emotional brotherly tones are my favorite. The love themes throughout this are good as well, but they are fun and playful… more than emotionally charged.

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There are 17 total tracks on this release. I wish there were more though. But the music fits throughout the entire film. Mark Mancina has crafted something very special. Remember when I said that there are intense action cues. Those come in whenever there’s a chase, or when Charlie fucks up. Mancina does a powerful job of allowing each tack to meld into one another. So lets start at the beginning shall we with Track 1: “Petty Theft” this track starts of with a kind of “DUN DUN” undertone to it. It builds into what I at first thought was a repeat of Mancina’s Speed theme. While that section of the track might sound similar it isn’t at all. Because Mancina adds in horns and a few other instrumental changes. granted I almost was fooled when I first heard it, but after re listening to this score over and over. I can clearly state that it’s different. Track 1 here happens as the film opens, and it takes us through to when The Torch lights up the first booth. This is a track that has everything, high stakes action, emotion, and so much more. This is also where Wesley has his big jump the tracks scene. The music even stops for a split second while he’s mid-air. “Petty Theft” then melds into Track 2: “Charlie Steals The Model” First off I love the scene where Charlie steals the model train. So track 2 here…. has almost a come hither kinda sound to it. Even though it’s a sexy sounding track, it has nothing to do with anything sexual in the film. When the horns kick in at the beginning of Track 3: “Buddha Consciousness” this is where I feel the film gets its overall theme. Track 4: “The Torch Strikes” is the scene and music to when The Torch lights the bitch up. This is such intense music. The action is packed in so tight you can hear every beat of the scene in the music. Track 5: “Hook’s Promise” is only 0:43 seconds in length, but it’s just so moving. This is a guy who’ll do anything for family, because that’s what you do. That fades into Track 6: “Love Hurts” which I think is the scene where Grace and John are sparring. It’s a nice little diddy. I like what Mancina was able to do with it.

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Track 7: “A Gift Of 15 Grand / Charlie Loses The Money” is mostly that low slow emotionally charged music I was talking about earlier. Right at the end though it gets this almost kick in the ass, as the ending is Charlie Losing the Money. Track 8: “Round Two / Love Betrayed” is the second love theme, and the first betrayal theme for the brothers. The second longest track on the disc is Track 9: “The Torch Gets Ready / The Torch Is Toast” if you were looking for a villain theme for Chris Cooper’s character well look no further. This is unlike any other track on the release. It’s dark, ominous, sinister, and just creepy sounding. Which makes for such a coool villain theme.

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Track 10: “Get Out Of My Life” is short, yet heartfelt. It’s from the scene where Charlie and John are arguing over who should or shouldn’t be dating Grace. Track 12: “Charlie Gets Ready / Charlie Grabs The Train” is where all the fun begins with the cops becoming the crooks. As Charlie is about to steal the Money Train. Mancina puts his all into this track. Everything that could be a heroic theme is here. Then there’s Track 13: “Motorcycle Subway” this is the music used to carry John Hook to saving his brother Charlie. Track 16: “I’ll Be There / The Brothers Fight / Money Train Wreck” is where everything culminates into one giant crescendo of awesomeness. With this track you get 7:27 of music. The first two minutes and ten seconds are epic action phases of the track, then you have a slowed down tone as Woody and Wesley get on the same page when it comes to robbing the money train. After that we are back to more high-octane action. The final track is Track 17: “Keeping Cool” this is after the money train derails, and Patterson wants to have these foul ups arrested. This is such a cool track, because what Mark Mancina does with it is combine all the elements that were so prevalent to the rest of the film, and make them all collide here. He really has outdone himself with this score.

Total Disc Time: 40:53

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Final Thoughts

Money Train’s music elevates the action film to a whole new standard. Mark Mancina combines high action themes with seductive sensual tones. Making this score one of my favorites of all time. You can get this score from LA LA Land Records directly! And if you don’t you are the BIGGEST FOUL UP I KNOW!

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