Composer of the month The expendables month

Soundtrack review: The quest (Randy Edelman – 1996)

Randy Edelman delivered. He is a crafter of wonderful themes and the gems he creates are all time favorites of mine

There was no way Randy Edelman was going to miss from “The Expendables month”. Since I had already reviewed his Stallone score (Daylight), I was left with “The quest”. Lucky me, I traded one beautiful score for another…

“The Quest” was Jean Claude van Damme’s attempt to write, direct and recreate Bloodsport. It starred the respectable Roger Moore as his sponsor, and his best friend (and the guy who played Tong Po in Kickboxer) as the villain. The movie was enjoyable but nowhere near the one it tried to emulate.

The score though…that’s a different story. Randy Edelman brought his melodic magic to a martial arts movie, and the result was sweeping. His sensitive touch makes the score weigh more than the movie. From the first cue “Opening / The dream”, passing through the gorgeous “To the city of Battle” and “Drums on the beach”, you get the feeling you are watching a mediation movie, not a martial arts one. The main theme is Moriconnesque (yes, this word should be in the dictionary) and you might hear an echo of “Once upon a time in America” in it.

If I close my eyes and listen to these tracks, I can imagine I’m on a beach, at sunset, just sitting there, enjoying the view and thinking, taking it all in. There are just enough Asian influences in this score to give it the extra sensitivity. All the fight sounds and action tracks have a soft edge, as if the drum sticks had their ends coated in the softest of materials.

The inspiration factor is given by the buildup of the action cues. Randy Edelman also kept in mind that the movie takes place some 70 years ago and the music has that old school feel to it. I listen to this score and it’s sweeping melodies and I feel like I’m looking through a picture album with the pages yellow from the passing of time…I see ships sailing, people saying goodbye from the pier, I imagine the way people got dressed in the 30s; “The Quest” has the feeling like a heartfelt flashback. Forget the violence, forget the fights and the blood…this is art, and a very different and welcomed way of scoring a martial arts movie.

Once again, like with “Daylight” or with “Dragon – The Bruce Lee story”, Randy Edelman delivered. He is a crafter of wonderful themes and the gems he creates are all time favorites of mine. Give this one a listen even if you don’t care for the movie. It’s just beautiful music…

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 33 / 42

Album excellence: 82%

Highlights:

Opening / The Dream

Chris Beats Germany

Old New York

Invitation

Flashback

To The City Of Battle

Drums On The Beach

The Greastest Fighters

Sentenced to Death

Brazil Accompaniment

American Theme

Finale/Fulfillment of the Quest

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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