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 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:42 AM   
 By:   jwb   (Member)

For me the Lethal Weapon series is some of the best music Michael Kamen has written for films. Dynamite memorable action music and themes for major characters. And simply a fun listen now with the excellent La La complete set. For me, I enjoy LW2, LW3, LW4 more than the first film. Its the same way I feel about the movies themselves. LW has a lot of seriousness to it with Riggs and suicide. For me, the films and music got better when it added more comedy.

But there are definite Die Hard fans out there as well and those complete sets sold out very fast. Aside from the first score, the Die Hard film scores never quite did it for me. And even the first one I only like small sections.

So what do you lean towards... Die Hard or Lethal Weapon, musically?

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:55 AM   
 By:   The Mutant   (Member)

Both. When it comes to Kamen, these are really the only scores I am interested in.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:55 AM   
 By:   Lokutus   (Member)

Die Hard for me.
While I am not too fond of the previous DH albums for nr. 2 and 3, their complete versions are pretty good. Since I pretty much hated all but first Lethal Weapon scores in their previous releases (far too much annoying guitar and sax overdubs), I am not too eager to get them all now - although I would grab the first one immediately if it was released on its own without the rest of them.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 8:01 AM   
 By:   The Mutant   (Member)

I suppose I can listen to all of the three Kamen Die Hard scores without skipping any tracks whereas with Lethal Weapon, I do tend to skip over the bluesy, sax heavy, semi-funky stuff, so Die Hard wins in that respect.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 8:35 AM   
 By:   johnmullin   (Member)

Probably LETHAL WEAPON for me. I liked DIE HARD as well, but the LW movies were just more important to me when I was growing up, and therefore I attached a little more meaning to the music.

My favorite Kamen score of all, however, might be LAST ACTION HERO, which kind of exists in the same world as LW and DH, but of course is a bit more playful and broad.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 9:30 AM   
 By:   Nyborg   (Member)

I'm not familiar with the later Lethal Weapon scores yet, but I find listening to even one double disc release from the Die Hard trilogy quite overpowering, and I appreciate Lethal Weapon's saxophone and guitar elements for breaking things up and giving some room to breathe.
The first Die Hard is the movie I greatly prefer out of the lot, so I'm more familiar with that score, but I've always found some of the individual tracks on that first Lethal Weapon release to be more stand-out - the iciness of the Amanda track, and the rock solid groove of... is it Nightclub?
Anyway I'd have to go with Lethal Weapon.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 9:40 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Probably LETHAL WEAPON for me. I liked DIE HARD as well, but the LW movies were just more important to me when I was growing up ...

So does that tell anyone anything about a "vs" of film score series? No, it doesn't. And it shouldn't. It's two different franchises. Entirely. Which happened to be scored by, mostly, the same man. And that's where the comparison ends.

On a purely compositional level I'd say that DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE was one of the finest scores Michael Kamen ever wrote (and people who recall that when I use the term wrote without quotation marks, I do so deliberately), maybe even the finest.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 9:49 AM   
 By:   johnmullin   (Member)

I don't quite get your point, OnlyGoodMusic.

More and more, however, I think that the Elmer Bernstein quote that Bear McCreary posted a few months ago is right on: "When people remember your scores, they're really remembering the film & the film experience. Not the music, just the association, because the music worked for them."

The first two LETHAL movies in particular have quiet moments where Kamen and Clapton took the opportunity to do extended, soulful guitar solos. Those scenes (and that music) really resonated with me in a way that makes those scores a bit more memorable to me than the DIE HARD scores are, although I think Kamen did some stellar work on all 7 pictures.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 9:55 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

The first two LETHAL movies in particular have quiet moments where Kamen and Clapton took the opportunity to do extended, soulful guitar solos. Those scenes (and that music) really resonated with me.

Yes, and they might have with me, too. But that's not telling you (or me, or anyone) anything about the quality of the music. With the aforementioned WITH THE VENGEANCE, I do realize that the scoring is of superior quality, a level of integration and orchestration, that Kamen never before, or after, reached.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 10:34 AM   
 By:   Tom Servo   (Member)

The first two LETHAL movies in particular have quiet moments where Kamen and Clapton took the opportunity to do extended, soulful guitar solos. Those scenes (and that music) really resonated with me.

Yes, and they might have with me, too. But that's not telling you (or me, or anyone) anything about the quality of the music. With the aforementioned WITH THE VENGEANCE, I do realize that the scoring is of superior quality, a level of integration and orchestration, that Kamen never before, or after, reached.


But isn't that question of the quality of the music still subjective? I mean, can you really say that the quiet, soulful moments of guitar solos in LETHAL WEAPON are somehow of lesser quality than what is heard in DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE? Is it just a matter of how many players or how many notes are being heard? Or are you simply more biased to consider the fully orchestral option better quality, musically speaking? I think they are both of high quality, just different.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 10:56 AM   
 By:   johnmullin   (Member)

Yeah, not being a musician, I don't really think about or judge music in those terms.

I usually think about what the music does for the scene it appears in. Does it work for the scene (and the movie as a whole)? Do you like it on its own? Do you think about it later? Those are the only relevant questions for me, really. I don't think about the number of players or the complexity of the music... just how effective it is.

I'm usually unable to spot or articulate the quality of orchestration, honestly (unless it's really blatant). I'm a little more aware of performance, I suppose, but I miss things that a skilled musician wouldn't.

I guess I evaluate film music as something that exists to serve the movie, and not necessarily as music that is meant to exist on its own, like a concert work is. Sometimes a scene needs really simple music. Sometimes it needs no music. It's there to serve the movie... not to give the composer an excuse to record material that will sound great on a CD. I love it when a composer gets the opportunity to do both, but it's more important that they write music that works for the movie.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 11:03 AM   
 By:   La La Land Records   (Member)

As someone who has worked very closely on both franchises over the past few years I can honestly say the major difference between the two scores is the SOUL...Lethal Weapon, for all it's bombastic energy, has more soul to it than the Die Hard films. Clapton's guitar work for Rigg's theme and Sanborn's sax for Murtaugh's theme are two of my favorite themes I have ever heard in any film.

MV

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 11:05 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

I agree with MV. "Lethal Weapon" has personality that "Die Hard" lacks. If you don't enjoy the riff-y nature of Clapton and Sanborn's contributions, well then you're not going to like "Lethal." But to me, that's what makes those scores unique. (And this is coming from somebody who never warmed to the "Lethal Weapon" movies, and only liked the first "Die Hard.")

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 11:23 AM   
 By:   Trent B.   (Member)

I like the films from each series but for the scores it's definitely Die Hard for the win. I couldn't get into the Lethal Weapon scores that much.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 11:29 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

I've honestly never been a big Kamen fan. No disrespect meant, as he was certainly a talented musician, and from all the interviews I've seen looked like a really fun, pleasant guy to be around. I just never really connected with his particular style. (Although I love Prince of Thieves, which remains my favorite score of his.)

Between the two, I always preferred the Lethal Weapon music. I was never that into the classical influence of his scores for Die Hard. They certainly have their moments, and they do their job within the films, but they are scores I could never really listen to on their own. Maybe a "best of" spotlighting all the highlights would be cool. Lethal Weapon I like more, and I realize now that MV has pointed it out, it's because it has more of a soul. That's a great way of putting it.

Filmwise, I enjoy both, although the fifth Die Hard and fourth Lethal Weapon are pretty awful in many ways. (But I'd rather watch the latter than the former.) The original three films of both were big favorites of mine growing up, though. I leaned slightly more to the LW side because of the excellent interplay between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 11:36 AM   
 By:   jwb   (Member)

As someone who has worked very closely on both franchises over the past few years I can honestly say the major difference between the two scores is the SOUL...Lethal Weapon, for all it's bombastic energy, has more soul to it than the Die Hard films. Clapton's guitar work for Rigg's theme and Sanborn's sax for Murtaugh's theme are two of my favorite themes I have ever heard in any film.

MV


Well put, MV!

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 11:46 AM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

The Die Hard's are a different beast. They're straight up action, suspense scoring. Alternately thrilling, fun, brutal and quiet (particularly the first film). Die Hard brought Kamen to my attention and I loved a lot of his work, but the Die Hard's and LW's were my favorites.

The Lethal Weapon franchise scores were more fun as they played off the characters more than the Die Hard's. But when Kamen let loose with cues like We're Leaving (Freeway Chase) and Armored Car Chase, they were just as rip snorting as any Die Hard piece.

Yeah, I'd agree with MV - it's all about soul. La la laaaaa.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 11:55 AM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

I never warmed up to the Lethal Weapon soundtrack albums, but I really like the music as it appears in the respective films. This is why I'm eagerly looking forward to the comprehensive LLL set. I also like the Die Hard scores, particularly in their expanded configuration, and I think the first Die Hard is a very wry and witty score. So I'm coming at this as somebody who likes the scores for both franchises, but I haven't heard the Beltrami scores for these last two movies.

I would say that I think that the Lethal Weapon scores do more to connect the audience to the two main characters in the respective films than anything Die Hard does to connect you to John McClane (this is not to say that the films themselves don't connect the viewer with McClane — particularly the first one — but the music tends to be the province of the bad guys in that series). Both Roger and Riggs' respective themes are extremely soulful works that help to add a great deal of emotional continuity through that series, even when the stories got a little overblown.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   crocodile   (Member)

As someone who is a big fan of Die Hard scores, it's easy to pick this series. On the other hand, I'm about halfway through this new Lethal Weapon box and it's so terrifically fun ride. Both series' share some similarities and if there's a difference between the two it would be - Lethal Weapon's characters vs. Die Hard's dry wit, LW's extrovert bombast vs DH's more introvert suspense. They're both great, can't choose.

Karol

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 1:05 PM   
 By:   Mat001   (Member)

While I like both film series scores, I do tend to lean more favorably towards the "Lethal Weapon" films. Mainly because they're more distinct with each character theme and certain reoccurring cues.

 
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