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RoboCop by Pedro Bromfman (Review)

posted Feb 14, 2014, 2:10 PM by Kaya Savas

Action scoring is usually the most engaging type of scoring. When composer write for action it usually inspires and thrills. Think about it? Think about the score that got you hooked on film music. It was probably an action or adventure film from your youth. The music is bold, thematic and melodic. Unfortunately, Pedro Bromfman’s score has none of the essential ingredients that would make it a memorable action score. It never takes risks, it never becomes bold and it fades away into the background for much of the listening experience. 

I’ll admit that when the score started off that I had pretty high hopes as I found it to be rather engaging. It has a pulse to it that really hooks you as it sets up the stage for what could have been a crazy fun action score. Instead what follows is pure mediocrity. Firstly, I think it takes some guts to even reference Basil Poledouris’ original RoboCop score. You immediately remind the audience that this is a remake, and the audience will immediately start comparing this modern incarnation with the original. Why even set yourself up for that comparison? This score lacks any of the nuances, structure and execution of Poledouris’ 80’s classic. I would never try and compare the two, but the score pretty much begs it by referencing the original score instead of going for a completely new take. I can understand the idea of paying homage, but remakes are kind of the opposite of homages in my opinion. When I interview a composer who is tasked at scoring a remake they usually say they stay as far away from the original as possible to keep their take uniquely fresh, and now I realize to save the risk of tarnishing another composer’s work. The rest of the score here never builds any amount of excitement, it never constructs any thrills and nothing about it is exciting. It pretty much ends how it starts; as pulsating electronic wallpaper music that seems scared to do anything else besides staying at the same level throughout.

The score at times feels stuck in a loop. Some tracks feel as if they were copy and pasted over and over again with no real dramatic structure, or anything engaging. Action music needs to entice, and it needs to excite. I applaud director José Padilha and composer Pedro Bromfman continuing their collaboration, but for some reason this score didn’t craft the big moments it needed to. Besides the out of place referencing of Basil Poledouris’ original RoboCop theme, the score lacks any thematic structure. The same fluttering motif repeats itself the entire time and never goes anywhere. the electronic static that makes up the textural aspects of the score also don’t help in crafting anything engaging. Sad to say, RoboCop is a dud.