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Section Header
A Good Day to Die Hard
Composed and Produced by:
Marco Beltrami

Co-Orchestrated and Co-Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Co-Orchestrated by:
Jon Kull
Dana Niu
Rossano Galante
Andrew Kinney

Additional Music by:
Buck Sanders
Marcus Trumpp
Brandon Roberts

Sony Classical

Release Date:
February 19th, 2013

Also See:
Die Hard
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Die Hard With a Vengeance
Live Free or Die Hard

Audio Clips:
1. Yuri Says (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

3. Jack Makes the Call (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

20. Rubbed Out at the Spa (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

24. It's Hard to Kill a McClane (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


A Good Day to Die Hard
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Buy it... if you admire the legacy of Michael Kamen's musical identities for this franchise and appreciate Marco Beltrami's efforts to remain loyal to them while revising the overall tone of these soundtracks to match the films' decline into generic action fare.

Avoid it... if your appreciation of Kamen's Die Hard music results from its applications of unique instrumentation into the suspense genre, for Beltrami has been forced to take the concept into strikingly different, blazing action territory.

A Good Day to Die Hard: (Marco Beltrami/Various) Entertainingly sharp battles of wits between characters as charismatic as John McClane and Hans Gruber are a rarity in Hollywood, and nothing proves that observation more than the lackluster fall from grace experienced by McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard. The franchise that followed 1988's surprise hit Die Hard has been slowly degenerating in its key quality: deviously funny interactions between hero and villain, McClane's foes declining in stature with each successively painful sequel. Gone are any semblances of the Gruber family in A Good Day to Die Hard, its plot ignoring the believable terrorist targets of prior films and meandering through Russia instead. McClane travels to that country to rescue his CIA-operative son and together unravel a plot involving government secrets, money, and weapons-grade uranium. By this point in McClane's existence, the man has been turned into a lucky killing machine akin to John Rambo, his placement in increasingly ridiculous circumstances justified as means to allow him to deliver attitude and lines meant to resurrect fond memories of the initial film in the franchise. Critics and audiences immediately agreed that A Good Day to Die Hard is the weakest entry in this series of films, which is a shame given that lead actor Bruce Willis repeatedly confirmed that this fourth sequel was always intended to be the last. Reprising his role as the current composer in the franchise is Marco Beltrami, who stepped in to replace the deceased Michael Kamen for 2007's Live Free or Die Hard. Kamen's music for the first three films, while not extraordinary in any sense, created a very distinctive identity for the main character's troubles. Beltrami paid significant tribute to Kamen with his 2007 entry into the series, utilizing many of the composer's thematic devices and instrumentation. Although the crew of A Good Day to Die Hard is different from that of the predecessor, Beltrami's relationship with incoming director John Moore ensured his continued work for the concept. Post-production woes, however, made the assignment a difficult one for the composer and his assistant, Buck Sanders.

With only six weeks to complete the assignment, and with new scenes being shot for A Good Day to Die Hard while the recording of its score was already under way, Beltrami had to contend with drastic late revisions and complete two hours of music that was ultimately boiled down to about 80 minutes as heard in the picture. His crew worked overtime to produce a coherent product for the movie, though he had decided early on to approach A Good Day to Die Hard with the idea of perpetual pedal to the metal action in mind. There is a fair dose of Brian Tyler methodology to be heard in this score, making it an odd combination of Kamen, Tyler, and Beltrami mechanisms all fighting for airtime. The tactic largely works, if only because Beltrami managed to take ballsy Tyler-like bravado and infuse it sufficiently with Kamen's various musical identities for the franchise, ironically diminishing Beltrami's previous action mannerisms to the most minor role in the equation. Thematically, the franchise's three most recognizable motifs return and two additional ones are added to address new characters. Obviously, Kamen's primary, six-note theme for McClane is prevalent in the work, as always an easy device to throw atop any frenetic action cue to supply a twinge of the suspense that defined the character at his debut. Beltrami does afford the idea a few muscular, solo performances that start to move the idea firmly into permanent action mode, starting early in "Yuri Says." Because the theme is so elusive in its actual progressions, Beltrami returns to his techniques of the previous film, in which the muted brass, fluttery woodwinds, whiny violins, and Kamen-defined meters are interspersed (sometimes with the theme, sometimes not) into original Beltrami cues. Also returning is the trademark accelerating brass jab effect that Kamen used to denote the gravity of a situation, literally. This "falling motif" from the original film (or alternately a "badguy demise motif") is saved in A Good Day to Die Hard until the climactic helicopter confrontation in "Get to the Choppa!" and, more obviously, "Chopper Takedown." Finally, also returning for one last hurrah is Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" from its obvious origins in the first film, though it's relegated to the opening bars of this score and unfortunately is not hinted during this plot's equivalent vault scene, even if in jest by the composer.

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Beltrami's two new themes for A Good Day to Die Hard are a bit ordinary but are featured prominently, an improvement over the preceding score in the franchise. The first idea is for the villains, a vaguely bloated, James Bond-like identity for the Russian foes that is introduced in "Jack Makes the Call" but doesn't really flourish for the full ensemble until their deceit approaches its most glorious moments in "Entering Chernobyl" and the immediately subsequent cues. The other new theme is one for the bond between McClane and his son, heard first in "Father & Son" and sending off the film with almost military-worthy heroism in "It's Hard to Kill a McClane." The resolving quote of the main franchise theme at 1:35 into that last cue is a nice touch. While these fresh ideas do invigorate the score, the true strength of the work is its rowdy action cues outside of these themes, generating orchestral ass kicking in the extended "Truckzilla" sequence and elsewhere. While these portions may be somewhat anonymous in their techno-thriller and big action personality, that was the tone Beltrami was explicitly seeking. Interestingly, he confesses to his intent to minimize the influence of Russian tones in the score. Some balalaika, dulcimer, and percussion are present for this task, but even in "Jack Makes the Call," Beltrami forces those tones into conflict with a McClane-appropriate harmonica. The only instrumental device that proves annoyingly distracting in A Good Day to Die Hard is an obnoxious bass electronic pulsation effect that forms rambling rhythms (reminiscent of Brad Fiedel's original The Terminator, humorously) that are featured far too forward in the mix in early cues. Still, by the immense "Truckzilla" cues and beyond, A Good Day to Die Hard will firmly establish itself as a mostly orchestral powerhouse, the woodwinds forced into shrieking duties with satisfaction. Overall, this second entry by Beltrami into the franchise is more satisfying than its predecessor, but you have to realize just how far the sound of these films has come over the decades of the concept's existence on screen. Gone is the prickly suspense of yesteryear, replaced by straight forward action that will please a different set of listeners. That said, you have to commend Beltrami and his crew for their obvious, fantastic loyalty to Kamen's identity for the lead character and their refusal to abandon that integrity despite a very challenging production process. For some action-oriented film music collectors, this score will be the best listening experience in the franchise. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Marco Beltrami reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 2.73 (in 22 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 2.79 (in 15,925 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings: Total Time: 64:36

• 1. Yuri Says (2:19)
• 2. Getting Yuri to the Van (2:14)
• 3. Jack Makes the Call (2:53)
• 4. Everyone to the Courthouse (3:09)
• 5. Court Adjourned (2:19)
• 6. Truckzilla (3:38)
• 7. Yippie Kay Yay, Mother Russia! (1:54)
• 8. Truckzilla (2:00)
• 9. Father & Son (1:24)
• 10. To the Safe House (1:51)
• 11. Regroup (2:30)
• 12. Leaving the Safe House (1:59)
• 13. Getting to the Dance Floor (1:34)
• 14. Too Many Kolbasas on the Dance Floor (3:53)
• 15. What's So Funny? (2:30)
• 16. McClanes Get the Bird (3:00)
• 17. Scumbags (2:05)
• 18. Entering Chernobyl (4:07)
• 19. Into the Vault (2:17)
• 20. Rubbed Out at the Spa (2:07)
• 21. Sunshine Shootout (1:37)
• 22. Get to the Choppa! (2:59)
• 23. Chopper Takedown (3:26)
• 24. It's Hard to Kill a McClane (2:59)
• 25. Triple Vodka Rhapsody (1:55)
• 26. McClane's Brain (2:00)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a list of performers but no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from A Good Day to Die Hard are Copyright © 2013, Sony Classical. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/23/13 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2013-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.