The Expendables soundtrack review

Sylvester Stallone’s barnstorming action movie The Expendables gets an equally urgent soundtrack courtesy of composer Bryan Tyler.

The Expendables is a film that I have been anticipating ever since the first news of the assembled cast hit. Ever since then, it has been a long wait. As is, no doubt, the case for many of those of my age, a huge part of my movie intake was from the output of many of the stars that feature in this film, so I was hugely excited to be in a packed cinema on opening night and watch the action spectacular unfold.

The film has been subject to two four star reviews on this site, courtesy of Simon and Duncan, so I won’t go into too much detail on the film itself, other than to say that it delivered exactly what I was expecting and still managed to surprise me on a number of occasions.

Such was the effect of The Expendables, I went from mildly out of shape to ripped and clean shaven to bearded through the course of the film. Now, whilst those previous statements aren’t true, the film is a whole lot of testosterone packed goodness.

One of the biggest surprises for me was the quality of its score. I was familiar with a lot of composer Brian Tyler’s previous efforts prior to viewing this through his work on The Fast And The Furious series and a number of other action orientated projects, including an excellent score for Stallone’s last film, the most recent entry in to the Rambo series. No doubt the quality of the aforementioned collaboration led to Stallone hiring Tyler to tackle the material for his latest big action movie and the results are very good, indeed.

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With an 80 piece orchestra at his disposal, Tyler creates a bombastic assault on the senses that elevates the material to dramatic heights. There’s nothing tongue in cheek here. This is a dramatic and often emotive score that is as much a triumph as the film it accompanies.

The majority of the score plays on variations on The Expendables Main Theme and is very effective as a result. The slight deviations give enough variation to keep the material fresh, whilst keeping a sense of consistency and urgency running throughout.

There are changes of pace, with Ravens And Skulls having an air of loss and sadness attached, and Lee And Lacy carrying a similar theme, but utilising a simple guitar melody to draw out the emotion of the scene. There’s also a Latin slant to material like Contact, which is fitting in the context of the film, but, sadly, doesn’t sit that well when the piece is enjoyed in isolation. That’s the only real criticism of the piece that I have.

The main theme aside, the epic The Gulf Of Aden is a big highlight with its build up of military style drums reaching a moment of dramatic insanity halfway through before tailing off and exploding into action again towards the number’s finale.

Giant With A Shotgun accompanies one of my favourite moments of the film and listening to it aside from the film brings back the images it accompanies, which is most definitely a good thing, as I’m sure those who have seen the film will attest.

From the opening main theme through to the closer of Mayhem And Finale, this is a score as action packed and spectacular as the film itself, and one that would be a welcome addition to the record collections of fans of the film and film scores alike.

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On the strength of this, it’s easy to see why Tyler is one of the go-to guys for action scores and is certainly a name to look out for on future projects. I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with for the intriguing Battle: Los Angeles.

The results here are really very good with this being one of the finest scores for an action movie I have heard for quite some time, and at this point, it stands as one of my favourite scores of the year. Yes, it really is that good.

The Expendables OST is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.


4 out of 5