For starters, this is a Jerry Goldsmith score. It carries within it all of his usual trappings and tropes: the theme, which is all brooding strings that rumble as they escalate with a massive low end for dramatic effect that is fraught with tension more than catharsis, all of it done with a very small palette of notes. Then, of course there are the enormous tom toms and kettle drums that are juxtaposed against sparse woodwinds as strings equate the action (lots of reverb, too) as in "The Rescue." Of course there is the rather overblown orchestral statement that announces the presence of the main character, "Rambo Returns." None of this is bad of course, and if you like Goldsmith's work, this deeply moody yet bombastic score will be exactly your cup of poison. There are a number of new-ish elements here, where the composer sets to frame what is truly unmentionable in terms of horror ("The Atrocities") in sonic terms that do not define horror, but merely suggest it, and the impossibility of description. This is one of the finest cues in the score, and quite effective. Also, "The Call to War," for all its obviousness is tremendously effective in an emotional sense for all of its tentative suggestion but determined purpose. The real bottom line is that this is a fine score for a film that simply didn't deserve it. And yes, while it is certainly predictable in terms of using all the composer's signatures, it also adds some new elements of depth and surprise, which is far more than you can say for most veteran composers of film music these days. There is something actually quite regal and powerful here; the notion of a score as a work in and of itself seems to have been forgotten in Hollywood, but for Goldsmith, this is obviously still true, thank goodness.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
|Rambo, film score|