Die Hard: With a Vengeance
Original Motion Picture Score
Die Hard With a Vengeance turns 20 years old this year. That’s right it was 1995 when the third Die Hard film was released. Here’s my review of the La La Land Records 2 CD set score, and also a few thoughts on the film.
Disc 1 Total Time: 76:37
First off I have to point out the GUYZ NITE’s Die Hard song, because it is so damn awesome. Wish they’d do a lethal weapon film franchise song.
So in DH1 we had McClane vs Gruber! and in Die Hard 3 we have McClane Vs Gruber again…. I love the way the Guyz Nite song puts it:
“And there was no way McClane could know
That Hans Gruber was Simon’s bro.
And that’s what made it “Die Hard: With A Vengeance”
With Samuel Jackson!”
I love Michael Kamen’s work I really do. That LETHAL WEAPON set La La Land Records put out awhile back was epically awesome. I even had to write a 2 page review for that sucker. Check it out on Pages 1 & 2. However I must say while I was rewatching Die Hard With a Vengeance, I barely noticed Kamen’s score. I’m not sure why I didn’t notice the music in the film. When I say this I mean the tracks that are on this release. Sure I recognized the Beethoven stuff, but that’s not what I am here to write about. I’ve listened through this 2 CD set 5 times in the past month that I’ve had it. And I still can’t line up the music to what’s in the film. I’m really not trying to sound negative here. However this doesn’t have the same instantly recognizable themes that the Lethal scores, or even the original Die Hard score has. This release kicks off with Track 1: “Summer in the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. I love that they incorporated that into the release. Then we get to Track 2: “Main Title”, which I do recognize from the opening of the film, and this music is very mysterious. Track 4: “John and Zeus” I do remember from the film, and this is very dark. It’s darker sounding here outside the film, than what I thought it would be during the film. One track that caught my ear was Track 8: “72nd Street Phone” This one starts off unlike anything else on the set, it has a small drum tap..? I guess in the beginning. After that it ramps up, and gets dark. I know I’m using the term “dark” a lot here. However it’s kinda the truth. The music to With a Vengeance is very dark most of the way through. Track 9: “Taxi Chase” is the one track where I really dig Kamen’s composition here. Because I believe this was when John and Zeus went through the park. I love that scene in the film, and this track really has a somewhat lighter edge to the previous 8 tracks. Tracks 10 and 11 are “the Subway Parts 1 and 2” Now this is music I remember from the film, because this takes place during the time when Zeus had to get to the phone while John was on the train. As I’m listening to this for the 6th time… I am remembering a bit more with the music in the film. Honestly these 2 tracks might be my favorites from Disc 1. On Track 12: “Take A-nother Train” we got back to starting off slow, and then more of the mystery type of tones. After which there seems to be a sense of urgency. I believe this is the cue from when McLane is on the train and after he finds the bomb. I really dig this track, because it sets up so much doom and gloom if that bomb blows! With Track 14: “Rings a Bell” this is where John realizes that it’s Gruber’s brother. There are some great violin pieces in the background here, and I love the deep drum lines. Track 16: “Bank Invasion” starts with the saints go marching in musical tones. NOW THIS is one I do remember noticing as I rewatched the film! Track 17: “Back to Wall Street” almost feels like it was something out of the Lethal Weapon films. It has this sinister back beat to it, and a few moments of woah where’d that come from. Disc 1 ends with Track 22: “Panic” A very upbeat score her to leave us on a cliffhanger while listening to these 2 discs!
Disc 2 Total Time: 1:59:44
Disc 2 begins with Track 23: “Aqueduct”, and one of the reasons why I remember this music is because of how that Aqueduct scene played out. In this 2 mins and 10 secs Kamen gives us some great suspense filled music! Because John was still trying to figure out where the damn dump trucks were going. Track 29: “Mercedes Chase / School Assembly” this is the kind of composing I have come to expect out of Michael Kamen’s body of work. This track is high intensity action. At the same time it changes over into a low dramatic tone. That low dramatic tone takes over around the 1:15 min mark. After that it gets even cooler, because he almost seems to blend the two styles as the track progresses. Track 35: “John Makes It Mad” is a wonderfully put together track. Kamen really amps up the dire situation of the liquids mixing.
Bonus Tracks Total Time: 34:06
Tracks 39-52 on the second disc are a lot of alternate takes of the music from the first and second discs. Generally I love hearing alternate tracks, but in this case I think the main score is by far the best. I’ve listened to the alternate tracks each of the six total times I’ve listened to this score. Honestly they just don’t do anything for me. I love that they are here on the set, but I prefer Kamen’s score that was featured in the film.
Total Album Time: 2:34:00
Die Hard With a Vengeance in my opinion is an OK score. I thought I was going to enjoy it more than I did. After all this is from the great michael Kamen. However I just couldn’t get into it. You can get this vengeful score from LA LA Land Records directly!