Original Motion Picture Score
It always surprises me the films Hans Zimmer ends up scoring. OH sure there are films out there that Hans Zimmer is very well-known for, and then there are films like Broken Arrow, where I hadn’t remembered Zimmer was the composer. So here’s my review of the Broken Arrow soundtrack score released from La La Land Records. Along with a few thoughts on the film itself.
Broken Arrow…… what can be said about this 90s action film…? Travolta and Slater team up as Deakins and Hale…? Well that was an actor combination I never thought would work. Yet it does so well. 1996’s Broken Arrow was just another in the long line of action films that came out in the 90s. Or was it……? SURE Broken Arrow has a standard plot of the good guy feeling jaded so he turns bad, and then the military stealing nukes and all that. However on my re watch of Broken Arrow in prep for this review. I have to say that the film is more character driven than plot driven. Two military men Deakins and Hale, these guys are the best and possibly the worst of friends. It’s the standard competition amongst friends thing. Their gimmick is who can win the other’s twenty-dollar bill. I’ve not watched this film in at least 16 years or more. I think the last time I watched it was 2 years after it released to theaters. I might have watched it in 2001-2002, but I just can’t remember the last time I saw it before now. The funny thing about not seeing a film in that long of a time, I can still remember many things about it. That goes for any film and the passage of time, not just Broken Arrow. I’ve seen music critics online and in magazines say that if you listen to 1 composer enough times… That you’ll find them repeating themes in various projects. With the range that Hans Zimmer has crafted I do not ever hear the same tone in multiple film scores that he has done. I’m going to review this score, as I have with most of the others I’ve done recently. I’m going to talk about my favorite tracks.
There are 23 tracks on this release. The first 20 are the main body of the score. Tracks 21-23 are “Original Album Versions” of tracks. I have listened to these three bonus tracks, and I’m glad they are on the set. However my main review will be of the score that was presented in the film, and reflected here on this release. We start off with Track 1: “Rope-A-Dope” this track at the very beginning sets up the undertones of the film’s theme. This can be heard solo within the first 40 seconds of the track. Then drums and other instruments come in and enhance the theme. At the 3:36 min mark the twangy western theme starts again with what sounds like weird jingle bells behind it. Actually it sounds like a xylophone, now that is interesting. As the track continues to its conclusion at the 5:01 time…. it gets a bit of an angelic choir behind it. After that it ramps up the twangy western cowboy theme. That was the one thing from the film that I remembered about the music, just that twangy western theme. Like Deakins and Hale were standing ten paces from one another ready to fire their guns! Track 5: “Desert Dawn” this starts off very slow, and gradually builds up. Again Zimmer’s twangy themes are present here. I just love that twang he uses. It gives the film an overall sense of being interesting and ominous all at the same time. Once again like with Track 1 that angelic choir is featured in this. Normally I’m not a fan of that, but with it only showing up in a few spots on each track, I do dig how it adds to the mystique of it all. Zimmer gets so much music in such a short period of time, I had to keep checking iTunes to see if the track had changed, but it hadn’t. Desert Dawn is most definitely one of the tracks I can listen to over and over.
When I saw the name of track 11, I kinda had to laugh a bit. For the simple reason that my first thought was to Iron Man 1. “You ride in the Funvee” LOL So Track 11: ‘Humvee Chase” this is during one of the high action pieces in the film. The music builds and builds and as you are watching the film you see the Humvees going after each other. The music within this track is intense, and exhilarating. Zimmer gives us just enough action packed music to whet our whistles, and then he tones it down a bit. The tonal shift isn’t until 4:10 min mark, and it doesn’t completely slow down. It gets low and fades off into the sunset as track 11 ends. Tracks 12 and 13 are “Mine Shaft 1 and 2” respectfully. Mine Shaft 1 is only 1:53 in time length. However Mine Shaft 2 is where it’s at, this tracks in at 15:49. This was the part of the film I had always remembered because as the film progresses this is one of the times when it is Deak vs Hale. Until this point in the film they have been outwitting each other. Now it’s all about Hale getting to the Nukes and Deak getting to Hale! Track 18: “Eat A Bullet” this is it. I said a moment ago that the Mine Shaft tracks were a face off between Deak and Hale… they kinda were and weren’t. But this track is during their fight on the train. As is Track 19: “Hammerhead” this track is slow and somber for the most part. Because it’s slightly after the fight, and Hale realizes he has lost a best friend. Granted that “best” friend went bad, but still. 23 Tracks, 1 hour and 56 minutes of music. Broken Arrow really delivers on some themes that I don’t think I’ve heard before or since. Zimmer is so different with this score. Track 20: “Nuke Disarmed (End Credits)” is that western twang to start out, and then it gets deeper and deeper. Like the bass was all the way down in the delta or something. Once again this is a track that fades off into the sunset.
Total Disc Time: 57:27
Broken Arrow is such a wonderfully put together score. For a film that I don’t think a lot of people even really remember. Lets face it Broken Arrow isn’t on the talking points of anyone’s mind these days. But after rediscovering the music, and rewatching the film. I have to say that it really does go down as one of the great action films of the 90s. Favorite tracks from this release are 1,188.8.131.52,13,and 20.
Broken Arrow is a hidden gem of the late 90s action films. To my knowledge of my friends not a lot talk about this film. however I really did enjoy re watching it in order to write this review of the Hans Zimmer Score. You can get this stealthy score from LA LA Land Records directly! Go on rope-a-dope!