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Soundtrack review: Sky hunter (Andrew Kawczynski – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Sky hunter (Andrew Kawczynski – 2018)

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“Sky Hunter” is a Chinese war film directed by Li Chen. It is Li’s directorial debut. The film is produced in collaboration with People’s Liberation Army Air Force and is China’s first aerial warfare film. The plot centers on an elite group of Chinese soldiers that thwart a terrorist plot and resolve a hostage crisis. Andrew Kawczynski wrote the score. He is seen as sort of the golden boy of Remote Control production, their hidden gem who has collaborated with Hans Zimmer and the others on scores but had yet to have his solo breakthrough. I couldn’t be more excited to hear a score from him. Besides, almost every Asian influenced score that has come out in the past few years has hit the spot for me.

This one opens with the main theme and it’s instant nostalgia for me because this is, second only to the synth sound of the 80s, one of my favorite film music sounds: the mighty heroic 90s action sound, the one that RCP has done such a great job or preserving and developing to this day. This main theme just inspires me and make me want to rise under some flag; it echoes back to Transformers as well, to Armageddon, to that heroic action style that was pumping steroids in 90s movie. I remember the last time I felt this way for a new score was when I heard Trevor Morris’ “Admiral” scores a couple of years ago. “Sky hunter” has that slim epic sound, enjoyable, robust but never too heavy or overwhelming. There is pounding percussion,there are electronic pulses and motivational motifs that rival trailer music in the adrenaline rush they provide for me. There is no Chinese or Asian element in the music but it’s OK; I’m here for the action. Maybe the heavy percussion could count since it makes me think of the vast Chinese army moving and shouting in sync or the throat singing in “Mahbu”.

The predominant feeling for me when I listen to a score like “Sky hunter” is joy; pure joy. This hones inspirational heroic sound is infectious and addictive and there’s nothing else, Andrew Kawczynski just went with it for the duration of the score, as if he wrote 14 anthems instead of cues and I couldn’t be happier. This is the kind of album I will keep close for when I need a pick me up score, a little shot of positive motivation. I could play any cue and it would work just as well. As often as we get RCP scores there days, this particular one falls in a niche as it’s not as bombastic and synthetic as most of the others; there is a certain warmth in the music which makes me believe it. I definitely recommend this one.

Cue rating: 83 / 100

Highlights:
Sky Hunter (Main Theme)
The Trials
Lead Me Back
Who We Fight For

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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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