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Outcast by Guillaume Roussel (Review)

posted Sep 15, 2015, 8:07 PM by Kaya Savas

If you’re looking for a bizarre cinematic travesty starring Hayden Christensen and Nicolas Cage in a Chinese wartime epic, then look no further than Outcast. Strangely though, hidden beneath the wooden acting and bad British accents from Christensen and Cage, there is a rousing score from Guillaume Roussel who decided to have a lot of fun with the music. Instead of a cheap and generic sounding score, we get a pretty old-school 90’s action score. The music calls back to the 90’s action scores of Zimmer and Powell that rode a wave of melodies and awesome samples all the way from start to finish.

Outcast is your typical hero’s journey of a white man stranded in a strange land during those epic days where war was pretty much every day life. Two former Crusaders team up to help the true heir of a murdered Chinese Emperor regain his rightful place from the sneaky brother who is trying to usurp the throne. So think of it as The Lion King except in ancient China and with Nicolas Cage. Anyway, the score is standard action fare, but it’s tremendously entertaining. It really reminded me of early 90’s Zimmer, and I mean that in the best way. Roussel has a great way with theme and variation, as well as action builds. He surprisingly ended up crafting a very immersive soundscape for this sword-wielding adventure. Roussel has worked with Zimmer and friends in the past and has picked up a few pointers for sure. Outcast is pure action fun and there are some great moments in this score that allow the music to  take hold of you. You'll be pretty engaged for the duration of the adventure and to be honest, it work much better as a standalone when you don't have to hear it underneath the film.

There is no reason this score should be as good as it is given the goofy film it’s attached to, but it is. A wildly entertaining “historic” epic sound from Roussel that feels familiar in that 90’s action sound yet unique to the cliched story of the white guy in a strange foreign land. Sure the score lacks depth and maybe an overall lack of cohesiveness, but there are great moments and melodies that show the strength of Roussel’s writing. Here is an example of a composer who made the best of a bad situation.