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Commando (1985)

James Horner 

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This Is The Horner I Wanna Listen To
Luis M. Ramos (May 8, 2005)
I definitely miss the old James Horner. He seems to have grown old and tired at an early age. There are times when I've wished he could come back with a bang, but what I get is a manipulative composer who knows exactly what buttons to push over the audience.
Whenever there are works like "The Forgotten" or "Bobby Jones: Stroke Of Genius", I long for "48 Hrs" or "Krull".
I really thank God that Varèse Sarabande released "Commando". This is the kind of music that I had expected from James Horner whenever he was commissioned to compose a score for an action flick. I love to listen to this album and repeat all the tracks on it. There is no rest here; I mean you listen to those acoustic and steel drums and you get excited all the way. There is only one moment of peace when a sort-of-a love theme is heard when the Arnold Schwarzenegger character is seen spending a good time with his daughter; that is also welcome. Of course, and as it is in almost all of Horner's works, there is repetition: there is a quote from his suspense music as it is heard on earlier works like "Brainstorm" and "Gorky Park", but I don't mind.
Once again, I enjoy James Horner when he used to be a powerful musical voice in the 80s. With the exception of "Titanic" and "Legends Of The Fall", the new Horner that tries to reach the audience with his touching melodies is tir¡ng sometimes. "Commando" definitely rocks. Now I'm waiting for some label to release an album for "48 Hrs". Anyone?

Horner's Action Ecstasy
by a soundtrack collector (January 19, 2004)
I used to be a Horner fan but got tired by his self-quotations around RANSOM and THE DEVIL'S OWN. While the release of COMMANDO won't change that a lot(since it is an early work) it is nevertheless the most entertaining score I've listened to in years.
First of all about the less-than-great aspects of this score: They are two. The one is the saxophone line. There just seems to be no room for this thing in this score. The rythmic stuff is complex and extremely busy, and at first listen the sax line sounds like an alien, like something that has nothing to do with the rest of the music.
The other is the steel drum motif that is repeated over and over with all too little variation. Had Horner not used it so much it would be a brilliant score.
I must say, though, that those two things don't bother me anymore. There is so much going on in this score that they hardly matter. COMMANDO is a score that only Horner could have written. It is full of excesses. I mean, he uses orchestra, synthesizers, percussion, steel drums and saxophone, and here his writing reaches orgasmic heights. This score is one long FUTILE ESCAPE, 80s style. I would describe it as 48HRS on acid. You must listen to it to believe it. It makes other action scores sound sparse and minimalist.
I love it. When Horner rocks he does it like nobody else.

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