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Section Header
North Sea Hijack (Ffolkes)
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Michael J. Lewis


Release Date:
April, 1998

Audio Clips:
1. Main Title (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (233K)
Real Audio (145K)

3. Fast Ahead (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

15. Stormy Water (0:28):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (227K)
Real Audio (141K)

19. Finale (0:32):
WMA (215K)  MP3 (266K)
Real Audio (165K)

Promotional release only, but readily carried by soundtrack specialty outlets for about $20.


North Sea Hijack (Ffolkes)
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Buy it... if you want a campy and fun (but occasionally impressive) alternative to the James Bond scores.

Avoid it... if a heroically pompous and borderline trite variant on the elite British military concept isn't serious enough in its intent to contend with the franchise that inspired it.

North Sea Hijack (Ffolkes): (Michael J. Lewis) By 1980, actor Roger Moore was firmly rooted in the roll of James Bond, and with good humor he agreed to star in a British knock-off production that in many ways mocks the 007 franchise. To say that North Sea Hijack, otherwise known as Ffolkes in America (and Assault Force on some video releases), is a straight comedic parody is selling it far short, however, for its plot is serious enough to gain widespread guilty pleasure status. Aside from Moore in the role of Rufus Excalibur Ffolkes (a retired special-forces officer obsessed with cats but repulsed by women), Tony Perkins and James Mason round out a decent cast. Ffolkes' elite British forces are tasked by the Prime Minister to rescue hostages from two expensive oil platforms (held there by Perkins' organized group of terrorist thugs), and if they can do it by launching spears through the villains, all the better. With wit and charm befitting Moore's portrayal of Bond, Ffolkes is not only campy fun, but is also known for its homosexual undertones and inside political humor. British composer Michael J. Lewis was hired to provide a score that emulated some of John Barry's style for the Bond franchise without actually quoting it or even straying too close to it in style. Lewis was a veteran of scoring British television series, with a career since 1970 that was sprinkled with a few well known feature films. In his first ten years of composition for the screen, he won Ivor Novello and Emmy Awards, and after a successful Broadway venture, his career would eventually move to Los Angeles and include music production duties ranging into the 1990's. Large-scale action wasn't too common in Lewis' career, though he approaches Ffolkes with just enough orchestral and synthetic power to be convincing. The demeanor of his music for the thriller is perhaps the biggest difference between this and the Bond scores. Lewis achieves an interesting blend between larger orchestral structures and trite rhythmic movement that, along with occasionally sparse instrumentation, causes the score to take on parody characteristics. Only its honest attempt to keep a straight face holds it in the serious action genre.

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The "cheese" factor in the thematic statements of Ffolkes is countered by Lewis with a sincerity in the suspense and straight action music. The title theme for Ffolkes tries hard to define the character as heroic, but humble. In the process, the lofty and fluffy title theme for brass in unison is a distinct reminder of John Scott's patriotic whimsy for The Final Countdown, robust at times while remaining somewhat overblown in tone. Orchestrally, the string section is completely superfluous; the echoing layers of the brass are definitely at the heart of the score. Synthetic elements range from a conservative electric bass for a slightly hip edge (a tactic being explored by the Bond franchise as well) to hokey synthetic sound effects that zip with all the brash and obnoxious creativity that 1979 technology could muster. Despite these inherent curiosities (or flaws, if you want to go that far), Ffolkes is an extremely likable score that, with its jubilant performances, merits enjoyment if you're in the mood for action music that doesn't try to overstate itself. In reality, the synthetic noises are really quite simple and unobtrusive, not even as irritating as a wildly tapping metronome effect in some of the action cues. Lewis' title theme is heard in full in "Main Title" and "Finale," with only a few token references throughout; its unashamedly heroic brass is unfortunately absent from the thematic statements in between. Lewis gives greater attention to a few suspense motifs, including one for the terrorists that rises in structure to follow the tensions on screen. These suspense-driven moments rival the better of the Bond scores. Singular motifs of pomp grace Ffolkes with some of its most satisfying moments, including a "Fast Ahead" cue that stands as a highlight of the entire score. On the whole, you can't hold the faults of Ffolkes against it because the score doesn't try to be anything more. There are no intolerable cues, and the recording quality is absolutely superb. The brass do make a couple of noticeably wretched mistakes, the worst of which occurring at (1:08) in the final track. The score is only available, like most of Lewis' music, in promotional form, pressed and distributed to the soundtrack specialty market in early 1998. Like the film, the score is a guilty pleasure to revisit from time to time. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.28 Stars
Smart Average: 3.22 Stars*
***** 29 
**** 36 
*** 33 
** 21 
* 17 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.

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 Track Listings: Total Time: 33:00

• 1. Main Title (1:55)
• 2. Cast Off (1:42)
• 3. Fast Ahead (1:40)
• 4. Trouble (1:05)
• 5. Stalking (2:08)
• 6. More Trouble Ahead (0:54)
• 7. Wet Deck (0:56)
• 8. Submerging (1:20)
• 9. Pondering (1:05)
• 10. Oil Rig Esther (2:20)
• 11. Warning (0:46)
• 12. Exciting Moment (0:37)
• 13. Oil Rig Ruth (0:49)
• 14. Oil Rig Jennifer (5:53)
• 15. Stormy Water (1:47)
• 16. Gathering Storm (1:15)
• 17. Stalking on Deck (2:11)
• 18. Shoot-Out on Rig (1:16)
• 19. Finale (2:25)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from North Sea Hijack (Ffolkes) are Copyright © 1998, Promotional. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 4/15/98 and last updated 4/16/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.