Sudden ImpactTo most film score enthusiasts, or even casual listeners, the name Lalo Schifrin is instantly familiar. Personally, I’ve written about Lalo Schifrin a few times before, interviewing him and reviewing his work, from scores (Rush Hour 3) to his jazz compilations (Lalo Schifrin & Friends). I’ve also seen him perform live in Chicago with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. But these are all relatively recent occurrences. Schifrin has been working in the music industry for over five decades, and composing scores almost as long. In 1983, over a decade after scoring the original Dirty Harry film, Schifrin stepped back in to score Sudden Impact, the fourth installation in the franchise. This score is now being rereleased onto CD by Aleph Records.

And the opening track, “Main Title”, will lay to rest anyone questioning whether or not this is a necessary rerelease. With too-hip ’80s bravado mixed in with police officers chatting over CB and what sounds like a few Blue Man Group whiplike instruments, Schifrin throws the listener’s mind immediately into the fray. In today’s musical score world, it would be more appropriate for something like Anchorman rather than Die Hard 4, but every moment is near perfect. Early tracks, such as “Cocktails of Fire” and “Robbery Suspect” are vaguely reminiscent of Schifrin’s most famous creation, the “Mission Impossible Theme,” while other tracks, such the jangly “Remembering Terror” are deliberately different (“Remembering Terror” sounds more like a carnival ride or a kid’s jack in the box).

At no point during this 22 track album will listeners find their attention wandering. While the entire score does sound rather over-produced and forceful by today’s standards (the rising and pounding action of “Unicorn’s Head” only works today in action/comedy flicks like the Rush Hour series -which Schifrin also scored).  There’s a sense of retro memorabilia to releasing a score such as this in 2008 and those looking for a score such as this will most likely be devout fans of the film and/or the series. For those listeners, there can be no better throwback than Sudden Impact, but others may find the music to be a bit more cheesy than they remembered.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: The high energy, action movie fan
Stay Away if: You tend to stay away from ’80s music, even if it’s in a score
Buy this on Itunes: “Main Theme”

To purchase the Sudden Impact score, visit Amazon

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