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ARMORED – John Murphy

December 4, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An action thriller directed by Nimród Antal and starring Matt Dillon, Jean Reno and Laurence Fishburne, Armored is a story about a guard for an armored truck company who is coerced by his veteran co-workers to steal a truck containing $42 million, with deadly consequences. The score for the film is by British composer John Murphy, whose stock in Hollywood continues to rise off the back of successful films such as Guess Who, 28 Days Later and this year’s Last House on the Left.

Murphy’s music is a workmanlike modern urban thriller score, filled with electronic grooves and synth pulses, atop a standard string orchestra to humanize the sound. The opening “Morning” is actually quite good, with a recurring three-note string motif overlaid by sexy electronic tones that set the scene well, especially when it comes back in later cues like “Warehouse” and the conclusive “The End”. Urban rock and hip-hop rhythms dominate much of the rest of the score, with “Ty’s Decision”, “Ty Saves the Cop” and others having a sense of swaggering cool about them. The action music, in cues such as “Armored Truck Chase”, “Fake Heist”, “Black Van” and “Ty Runs”, is one step removed from the familiar Remote Control sound, combining relentless rhythms and rock guitars with a propulsive beat to keep the energy levels high.

 It’s certainly not as obnoxious as it could have been, but still could leave the unwary with a headache. And so it goes… the tone of the score doesn’t really change much from cue to cue, with Murphy emphasizing the urban setting and grittiness of the story throughout the score’s 40 minute running time. I’m sure it’s very effective in context, and in many ways it doesn’t make a bad listening experience, mainly because of Murphy’s insistence on remaining tonally centered throughout; thankfully, he never goes down the very easy ‘sound effects as music’ road that often plagues scores like this, and always keeps his score melodic, even when it moves into the hardest of its rock/electronica moments. It also helps that I don’t mind listening to rock instrumentals anyway, but I can certainly see where this will only appeal to a small section of the soundtrack-buying public.

Rating: **½

Track Listing:

  • Morning (3:11)
  • Armored Truck Chase (2:38)
  •  Ty’s Decision (3:29)
  • Fake Heist (1:37)
  • Getting Cover (2:42)
  • Ty Saves the Cop (2:16)
  • Federal Reserve (2:27)
  • Work (1:36)
  • Black Van (1:50)
  • Warehouse (2:04)
  • Stashing the Cash (1:09)
  • Get the Kid Outta the Truck (3:18)
  • Ty Escapes (2:09)
  • Killing Dobbs (3:06)
  • Booby Trap (1:38)
  • Ty Runs (2:20)
  • The End (3:21)

Running Time: 40 minutes 59 seconds

La-La Land Records LLLCD-1122 (2009)

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