Review: Shanghai Noon
3.5 / 5 Stars
The composer picked for the film, Randy Edelman, has had intimate experiences with the oriental musical elements used in the film, but is less familiar with the western and Americana. Hes honed his skills in the first arena with such films as Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Welcome To Paradise with solid, and oft quoted, cues that usually have him employed whenever a director is looking for that type of feel. As for a taste of the American West, Edelman hasnt had a nod to do such a score, but hes been able to pull a rather satisfying one off for Shanghai Noon. What makes this score most effective is the seamless blending and interchangeability of the instrumentation and melodies between the two musical styles. The starting few tracks parallel the first few minutes of the movie which set-up the reason for Jackie Chans arrival in the American West. The initial tracks transition perfectly via the appropriately named "From East To West", which introduces the main theme that makes a few appearances throughout the score. Since the dialogue in the film is delivered with such droll perfection, its not necessary to sell any of the jokes with the music like most comedies nowadays. In turn, Edelman is allowed to write a convincingly straightforward score, complementing the occasional poignant moments but shining by supporting the action sequences perfectly.
This film sets a precedence for the modern western, and hopefully this begins a renaissance for that genre that has been trying to jumpstart over the past decade. This rare 60-minute issue from Varese Sarabande is pretty chunky at 28 tracks, covering most of what appeared in the movie. The score is as engrossing as the film, and is definitely one of the "best of" selections for anyone trying to get to know Randy Edelman. This is the type of score that if The Wild Wild West was a better film, could have easily fit had Elmer Bernstein been unavailable. So, for a first time outing for a western score, Edelman bellies up to the bar and raises it a couple notches.
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