Film scores

Soundtrack review: Lady bloodfight (Mark Killian – 2016)

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“Lady Bloodfight” is a martial arts movie with a female lead and this has high nostalgia value for me, having grown up on movies like this. I remember the days of Cynthia Rothrock movies and I missed a female ass kicker. Jane is a beautiful but troubled American girl backpacking her way through Hong Kong. When she successfully fends off three thugs trying to rob her, it draws the attention of Shu, a Wudang champion, who is impressed by her raw street fighting abilities. Shu recruits Jane and trains her to fight in the vicious, all-female, underground martial arts tournament known as “The Kumite.” After months of rigorous preparation, Jane is ready to face off against the deadliest female fighters in the world, including Ling, the apprentice of Shu’s nemesis, Wai, a Shaolin master. Other nefarious forces also lie in the shadows, taking Jane on a journey through the gritty underworld of Hong Kong as she fights to be named the best female fighter in the world. Sounds like a female version of “Bloodsport”. Mark Killian wrote the score.

I befriend the score from the second cue, the simple and ambient like “Raison d’Etre”. It’s a mainly electronic piece and I can imagine the character’s state of mind as I listen to this cue and I can relate. I don’t imagine a very complex character but someone at the start of her adult life with little attachments. There is warmth in the music and it’s a cue that stands out from the score because the mood and sound is slightly different.

I understand where the composer wanted to go with this score; it’s the kind of composition that works much better in the context of the movie because it provides support to the images. Mark Killian went electronic and thriller like and in some moments I imagine tried to mimic fighting sounds with his instruments. I have seen a lot of fight and martial arts movies and I can see swirling kicks and I hear punches and kicks reaching their target when I hear the score. Sometimes the clicking of the music makes me think of wood being his. There’s also a serious and menacing tone at times that makes “Lady Bloodfight” as cold as the blade of a sword.

I like “Sweeping auditions” because it’s this score’s version of the infamous training montage. I feel the motivation in it. “Recruiting fighters” would be the sequel. Still I am more drawn to the more emotional cues, the ones that give me an insight into the main character. “Locker room meltdown” is driven by a superb cello motif that contrasts with the rest of the score and represents the warm core of this album together with “Jane visits Sang”. It melts away the metallic and electronic inserts from before and brings much needed color to the score.

“Lady Bloodfight” will not be an easy listen for everyone but it works well as a fight movie score.

Cue rating: 72 / 100

Total minute of excellence: 8 / 69

Album excellence: 11%

Highlights:

Locker Room Meltdown

Recruiting Fighters

Jane Visits Sang

 

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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