One of many assignments that was hardly
worthy of Jerry Goldsmith's talents as film composer. Still as always the
movie's quality never stopped the composer from writing a good film score, as is
the case for this pre Rambo 70's action thriller involving a grizzled
mercenary rescuing an American business man from anti Macros guerrillas.
Although Jerry Goldsmith calls upon his favourite UK
ensemble, the great National Philharmonic Orchestra, the score for High
Velocity focuses, for the most part on a smaller group of instruments for
the film's 'south of the border' locale. Here Goldsmith opens with a bright and
breezy Latino inspired main theme (Welcome To The Philippines) for
guitar, marimba, flute and shakers. The cue changes momentum completely in the
second half with Goldsmith introducing harpsichord and crisp brass and
percussion for the guerrillas kidnap of the American industrialist as Goldsmith
develops a thrilling action cue.
The Latin feel is further expanded upon in both The Night Before and
The Mafia Marines, with a beautifully melancholy theme for flute, guitar and
marimba, while the latter cue includes castanets and a beautifully understated
piano theme for the main characters friendship.
The Hostage and Night Flight serve up some welcome Goldsmith
action. The Hostage is the superior cue with aggressive brass statements
and crisp snare drums joined by guitar and harpsichord. Night Flight
creates a lighter atmosphere with a jaunty ethnic theme but with a wild staccato
trumpet. While the tense jungle trek and preparations to storm the camp are
covered during The Mission Begins, The Rope Trick and The
Archer. Here the sequences benefit from eerie woodwind motifs and atonal
string work plus more ethnic percussion.
The Ring/Not Thirsty and Coffee Break return to the more sensitive
scoring heard during the early part of the soundtrack. Again Goldsmith provides
effectively emotive music for flute and strings joined again by guitar and
The downbeat finale, which sees the majority of the leads killed, is played out
during Just A Little More/No Victories, with Goldsmith providing a
suitably tragic and grim orchestral finale for dissonant brass and woodwinds,
before the Marines theme is briefly revived and dialled out.
High Velocity - the movie may be a minor event but Prometheus' CD is a
polished release with enjoyable notes, colourful presentation, and most
importantly a brilliantly transparent recording, revealing an abundance of
detail. Definitely one of those scores not to be judged by the movie it was