Delta Force / King Solomon's Mines

Milan Music (7420006202902)
Movie | Released: 1987 | Format: CD

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# Track   Duration
The Delta Force by Alan Silvestri (1986)
1.The Delta Force Theme4:25
2.Three American Soldiers4:10
3.The Selections5:27
4.The Takeover2:56
7.The Landing4:15
8.The Collection2:11
King Solomon's Mines by Jerry Goldsmith (1985)
9.Main Title3:40
10.Upside Down People4:51
11.The Crocodiles3:07
12.Pot Luck3:24
13.Forced Flight5:22
14.Dancing Shots3:38
15.Good Morning2:33
16.No Pain3:06
17.No Diamonds - Generique Fin4:21
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Delta Force / King Solomon's Mines - 06/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
Although there aren't a great number of twofer soundtrack albums, of those available, this must be one of the more unusual pairings. The first is an early, synthesised Alan Silvestri thriller score and the other is Jerry Goldsmith seemingly forced to follow in the footsteps of John Williams. I can't say I've never seen Delta Force, but it was apparently based on a true life hijacking, although opinions vary as to its quality. Instead of thundering brass and percussion, Silvestri has concocted a synth score that isn't entirely unlike Goldsmith's own Hoosiers; a mixture of synth percussion and horns that really does sound more like a sports movie score than a bloody action film.
The Delta Force theme is the part of the score closest in style to Hoosiers, although Silvestri's composition is rarely so complex with a quasi noble/heroic horn theme laid over some digital accompaniment. Still, it's catchy enough, even if after the memorable heroics of Back to the Future a year earlier, it comes across as pretty insubstantial. The music alternates between the theme and variations and some effective, if none too exciting suspense cues. Given that it's from the mid 1980's, the synthetic orchestra is surprisingly good, I wouldn't go so far as to say realistic, but it does at least make a jolly good stab at sounding authentic. In all honesty, Delta Force wouldn't really be worth an album of its own, outside of the main theme, there isn't a lot to inspire repeat listens, although I'm quite surprised the Delta Force theme hasn't made its way onto any Silvestri compilations.

As mentioned, Jerry Goldsmith has often ended up scoring pale imitations of films that John Williams has penned music for. Two of the most notable and obvious are Supergirl, after Superman of course, and King Solomon's Mines after Raiders of the Lost Ark. Curiously enough, King Solomon's Mines has been around a lot longer than Indiana Jones and has been filmed a number of times, although this most recent version was roundly and rightly panned, but still managed to spawn an even more risible sequel. Everything that is good about Spielberg's film is absent and the result is a witless adventure, littered with stereotypes that are so grotesque, it's almost a spoof, but sadly it isn't the least bit funny. Jerry Goldsmith is a dab hand at rising above pitiful films and while King Solomon's Mines isn't exactly a classic, it is a lot more fun than the film itself.

As demonstrated with Supergirl, Goldsmith doesn't always have quite the same confidence in using leitmotif that Williams does, which is reasonable since it's not a style of composing he employs that often. Despite some good variations, it always feels as though the themes are being overused, although the relative brevity of the album presentation here helps it remain fresh. Goldsmith's malleable main theme is catchy, perhaps annoyingly so, bit still a poor man's Raider's March, but is an effective hero motif. One serious misstep is a 'parody' of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries that functions as the villain motif. Nazis of course. However, while Spielberg's Nazis were mildly comedic feel, they had a very serious and dangerous edge, but in King Solomon's Mines, they are just buffoons, only played for comedy and the music doesn't help, although I sincerely doubt it was Goldsmith's idea. A pleasing and tender love theme is perhaps the most effective melody of the entire score and would probably have survived better had it been in a more forgiving context.

Goldsmith builds the score around the three themes, together with a secondary motif that is, perhaps surprisingly, reminiscent of one of Star Trek: The Motion Picture's minor themes. There are some fun action highlights, notably Forced Flight with the themes woven together, although the Wagner becomes somewhat cringe inducing by the end. As I said, not a classic Goldsmith score, but enjoyable enough. There is a much expanded release on Intrada which is actually easier to find than this edition, although as with Supergirl, it becomes a bit wearing after over an hour. The performance and recording quality are a touch sloppy, the former is exciting, but not always technically proficient, and the latter is a little abrasive, although very clear, but as with Silva's less successful compilations, the recording clarity highlights the orchestral inadequacy. A curious pair of scores; Silvestri's only likely to appeal to hard core fans of the composer, but even then, not quite interesting enough for half an hour and Goldsmith's is ideal for a silly, almost cheesy half hour of the composer having a fun time of it.

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