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FINISHING THE GAME – Brian Tyler

Original Review by Clark Douglas

As soon as the first cue of “Finishing the Game” takes off with late 70’s funk rhythms, one wonders whether Brian Tyler has decided to open his score album with a cool source cue. Then there’s another one. And another one. And another one. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Brian Tyler… the new David Holmes. Using only equipment available to musicians of the 1970’s, Brian has crafted a small ensemble score (or is he playing everything himself?) that ranks as one of the more entertaining scores of his career (if one of the least substantial).

The movie is a mockumentary directed by Justin Lin, who previously collaborated with Tyler on “Annapolis” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. The film focuses on the elaborate attempts to try and finish Bruce Lee’s last film “Game of Death” (which Lee died before completing). It’s interesting to note that “Game of Death” featured a pretty wild and unconventional score from the usually-restrained John Barry… one can only wonder if that sparked the idea behind Tyler’s approach to this film.

Anyway, if you’re into the funk/pre-disco material of the 70’s, this album has got all the chika-chika-wow-wow you can handle. It’s a series of 19 pretty slick instrumentals, some of which are more entertaining than others. My own favorite is the main theme, which appears several times throughout the album. Despite the fact that it reminds me a little of that Haines underwear advertisement theme (“look who we’ve got our Haines on now!”), it’s pretty cool, with some hot brass licks.

There’s some traditional classic rock in “Real Deal”, some breezy jazz in “Poon, Troy Poon”, some folksy romance in “My Name is Raja”, some Hispanic flavor in “Olie and Cesar”, and even something that resembles traditional score music in “Master the Past”, so there’s enough variation to keep things fresh. Much like the David Holmes “Ocean” scores, this is inconsequential fun, but it is fun… so if 70’s funk is your cup of tea, or if you’re a Brian Tyler fan curious about how the composer would have fared as a pop musician in the 70’s, then “Finishing the Game” is worth a spin. Sadly, this is an iTunes only release, so those of you who will only buy physical CDs are out of luck. If that’s not an obstacle, the fact that this is nothing like any of Tyler’s other work might be… but if you like the aforementioned Holmes scores, I’m pretty sure you’ll like this too. Did you pass all those qualifiers? Then prepare to be entertained.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Finishing the Game (2:17)
  • Ready or Not (2:37)
  • Muthalongah (2:31)
  • Golden Gate Guns (1:31)
  • Breeze Funktorium Reject (1:57)
  • Real Deal (1:34)
  • Sizzle Style (1:25)
  • Get on the Bus (2:26)
  • Poon, Troy Poon (2:24)
  • Fists of Fuhrer (4:04)
  • Get Down Saranghina (1:53)
  • My Name is Raja (2:28)
  • Battle of the Giants (1:29)
  • Olie and Cesar (2:12)
  • Master the Past (2:12)
  • I Ain’t Gonna Do Your Laundry (1:46)
  • Golden Gate Guns Intro (0:42)
  • Astroduck (3:22)
  • Get on the Breeze Pocket (3:11)
  • Railroad Worker (dialogue) (0:59)

Running Time: 43 minutes 00 seconds

iTunes Exclusive Download (2007)

Music composed and arranged by Brian Tyler. Edited by Sheri Ozeki. Album produced by Brian Tyler.

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