Music composed by Geoff Zanelli
Label: La-La Land Records
Catalog: LLLCD 1064

Year: 2007

1. Ava Maria
2. I Take Out The Trash
3. The Belicoff Assassination
4. Roses For Nika
5. Random Complication
6. New Suit
7. Train Station (Bite Your Tongue)
8. Istanbul
9. Table 26
10. Best Laid Plans
11. Undress Me
12. I Need You To Die
13. My Number Is 47
14. Trust Unto God (Udre's Funeral)
15. Rubber Duckie
16. Righteous Buttkicking
17. D'nouement
18. Ava Maria

Total Time: 45:36

Reviewed by
Tom Hoover

Time for another failed videogame to film adaptation. This time the source is, Hitman, a film panned by critics for being hollow at its core, void of character development and filled with too much action. I guess they were expecting Atonement. The score for the film is brought to us by Composer Geoff Zanelli, another Hans Zimmer protégé, who has recently started to branch off into featured projects and has a shot here at a fairly commercial opportunity. The soundtrack offers 18 tracks, one of which is included as a 'bonus' cue at the end of the album, and features liner notes that has a write-up by the composer.

Maybe one day the filmmakers who convert these projects into films might actually reward the videogame composers by asking them to write the music for the film adaptation. Indeed, it would have been pretty cool had Jesper Kyd been commissioned to translate his work from the game platform to the big screen. Alas, such a connection isn't made and the composers in the film industry are the ones who gain the opportunity. This is isn't anything personal against Zanelli, but I just wish the game composers could be asked to take their talents to the next level on occasion (aside from the Giachinno's of the world). That's just how the system works, I suppose.

Zanelli's work here is a mixed bag. My first reaction after hearing the score in its entirety is that Zanelli might not have had the time to develop the music to its full potential. It felt like a rush job. By that, I'm not talking about the tempo in which the music is played, rather, I am referring to the repetitious number of melodies that seem to play on and on during the score without too many alterations. There are two really effective themes that are written into the score but the problem that the main one is heard too often and the second one isn't played often enough.

Before the first note was played, we all knew the style that would come out of this album. In it, there's the typical exchange of electronics and orchestral elements, paired to generate the modern soundtrack sound that we are all familiar with. Also present is the deep male choir synths which we've heard from many projects of this ilk before (eg, The Rock, The Man in the Iron Mask, etc.). All that said, extract the thematic material from the source and you have a solid score at the root of the album.

The overall tone of the score is one of danger and action, represented with a touch of European flavor at different junctures. I quite liked the influences of Paris in the music; this enabled the work to feature more of an international scope. There is also a bit of a melodic touch that plays to the internal struggle of the characters with the secondary theme, which was nice to hear. This "love, but not quite" theme makes for a nice break in between the heavy energies of the action chords and is the second of the two themes referred to above. It's actually a touching, well written melody, thus I wish it would have received additional playing time on the soundtrack.

Perhaps the biggest complaint I have about the soundtrack is that there doesn't appear to be any type of beginning, middle or end to differentiate one part of the score from the other. It seems to play the same type of notes at a similar pacing throughout. Again, I attribute this to perhaps Zanelli not having enough time to flesh this thing out (he indicates that he was up against a tight deadline). I do think he has the tools to be a proficient composer, I just don't think this is his vehicle to break out in. And although the electronic manufacturing of the score is still not my favorite type of sound design, I can accept it better here due to the cross-over genre the score was created for.

Hitman has the base elements to generate a very good score but it delivers these highlights far too frequently to be successful. There are portions of the soundtrack that can be isolated as fan friendly listening experiences, but overall, it's plays at too much of a repetitious nature to warrant a recommendation. For a better score from this composer, and to give you an idea about his potential, check out Disturbia as a soundtrack that I do recommend from Zanelli. This one simply didn't work out for me.