Soundtrack Review: FAST FIVE (Score)

Allison Loring

by: Allison Loring
May 3rd, 2011

Rating: 3.5/5

Many things have been said about the FAST FIVE film over the past few days, but one thing is for certain – it is one hell of a ride. All the intense action on screen is driven to its various climaxes by a score that pulls double duty keeping the pace going while still staying true to the film’s location, relying on a variety of instruments to give this ride a decidedly Brazilian sound. Composer Brian Tyler (who also composed the last two FAST films, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT and FAST & FURIOUS) takes the reins again for FAST FIVE, creating an even more layered score to go along with the increasingly complicated action (and relationships) on screen.

Tyler kicks off his score with “Fast Five,” which lets us know from the get go that this is going to be a non-stop ride. Still based in driving percussion and heavy bass beats to keep ones adrenaline pumping, Tyler’s score is also fleshed out with full orchestration that gives these scenes even more weight. “Train Heist” picks up on the theme carved out in “Fast Five” and immediately cues your ear that something important is going (or is about to go) down. FAST FIVE has some of the longer action scenes the series has seen yet and Tyler goes toe-to-toe with these moments, creating compositions that span the length of those sequences, ensuring the tension never dissipates during those moments. As two of the longest pieces on the score, “Train Heist” and “The Vault Heist,” each works seamlessly within the film and are just as engaging outside of it. Tyler’s attention to detail and slight shifts in tone as the scenes progress standout when the pieces are listened to on their own, making these two tracks some of the most interesting on the collection.

Just as the soundtrack enlisted various Brazilian artists, Tyler also incorporates Brazilian style instrumentation into his score to keep that undercurrent of being in a foreign territory always running through the film. Although rooted in full orchestration, Tyler also pulls in electronic elements on tracks like the later half of “Turning Point” which then bleeds into “Surveillance Montage” and keeps the score sounding modern and mechanical – almost rivaling the other electronic scores hitting the big screen lately and acting as a nod to the background of our mechanics turned racers.

Tyler’s score is not all non-stop action as he also takes the time to slow down on pieces like “Paradise” and “Connection” which highlight different moments between the characters whose relationships with one another have become just as much a part of the franchise as any of the action. A handful of the tracks, such as “Remote Intel” and “Cheeky Bits,” are even quirky, reflecting the not always so series nature of the story (even if some of the jokes are unintentional) with the music acting as the wink that the series may in fact not take itself too seriously. Most surprising was the piece for “Hobbs” which plays slightly understated, a sharp contrast to the character on screen (as played by Dwayne Johnson).

What is most interesting in watching the progression of this franchise is seeing how the music in the films continues to move further away from being populated with mainly tracks from recognizable artists, instead becoming more and more focused around the score. This seems like a natural progression seeing as the story itself has gone from just watching cars race to watching these characters deal with the various risky situations they find themselves in. A fast-paced rap song no longer seems to be the right fit over scenes where even the action is increasingly intricate. Each track builds on itself as it shifts and turns, taking the sometimes boring idea of listening to just score and proving that it can stand on its own just as well as when it is paired with the unquestionably enthralling action on screen.

What the soundtrack was lacking in hard-hitting tracks, the score makes up for it with pieces that not only provide that driving bass line you want to race along with, but also incorporates additional instruments and electronic elements to make these pieces an all encompassing experience. I dare you to put this score on in your own car and not find yourself inching that speedometer forward. FAST FIVE is indeed a ride and the score works as the gas in the engine.

This soundtrack available through Varese Sarabande.

1. "Fast Five"
2. "The Perfect Crew"
3. "Cristo Redentor"
4. "Train Heist"
5. "Remote Intel"
6. "Hobbs"
7. "Showdown on the Rio Niteroi"
8. "Tapping In"
9. "Turning Point"
10. "Surveillance Montage"
11. "Enemy of My Enemy"
12. "Tego and Rico"
13. "Hobbs Arrives"
14. "Convergence"
15. "Paradise"
16. "Finding the Chip"
17. "What Time Do They Open?"
18. "Dom vs Hobbs"
19. "Bus Busting"
20. "Cheeky Bits"
21. "The Job"
22. "Connection"
23. "The Vault Heist"
24. "Full Circle"
25. "Fast Five Coda"

All songs on this soundtrack composed by Brian Tyler.

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