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Comments about the soundtrack for Sudden Death (John Debney)

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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
• Posted by: Brett J. Ulrich   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, April 22, 2007, at 3:13 p.m.
• IP Address:

(The following donated review by Brett J. Ulrich was moved by Filmtracks to this comment section in April, 2007)

Sudden Death: (John Debney) This score represents one of Debney's few forays into the field of action scoring. While Cutthroat Island is considered a landmark score for Debney, other action scores by Debney, like Sudden Death, are unfortunately rarely discussed, while it represents Debney's amazing versatility as a composer.

The CD opens not with a rousing fanfare or bold action theme like most other action films, but with a forlorn and ominous sounding main title, with heavy percussion elements, which are a constant factor throughout most of the score. Mixed in with the main title track is the kitchen fight scene. Debney's use of timpani and piano resemble in this track Jerry Goldsmith's style, along with bold brass and orchestra hits. Track 5, "Choppers/Scaling The Dome," is some of the best music on this CD, combining an action motif with the solemn theme introduced in the first track with the horn section carrying the theme over the percussive beat with underlying support from the strings.

Not all of the CD is outright action music, some portions sound similar to his horror score, I Know What You Did Last Summer. Some very eerie moments are created in track 6, "Race Against The Clock/The Abduction," for example. But that eventually gives way to driving action music, which worked extremely well in the film, but may make a few listeners restless. Debney's trademark woodwind solo is heard briefly in track 8, "Rooftop Battle," as the clarinet performs the main theme around the 0:40 mark, shortly before action music resumes.

All in all, a very solid effort by Debney. It didn't leave me blown away like Cutthroat Island, or as emotionally moved like Liar Liar, but for any film music fan that likes action scoring, or any John Debney fan, this would be a nice addition to your collection. Considering it is out of print, it can still be had fairly cheaply in used CD stores or online auctions, you should pick it up if given the opportunity. ***

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rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.