Music By Toru Takemitsu
Kritzerland Records KR200265
34 Tracks/Disc Time: 79:10
Grade: A- (BEST OF 2013)
When famed author Michael Crichton’s (“Jurassic Park”, “Sphere”, “Andromeda Strain”) novel “Rising Sun” was published in 1991, Twentieth Century-Fox immediately jumped on the rights to turn it into a film and a year later, the cameras began to roll in the Summer of 1992 with director Phillip Kaufman (“The Right Stuff”, “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)”) at the helm of the project as well as behind it having co-adapted the screenplay with Crichton and Michael Backes to which led to both Crichton and Backes leaving the project due to Kaufman’s undue changes to Crichton’s adaptation of the screenplay. Regardless, the film went ahead full steam with Sean Connery (in a great laid back performance) as Captain John Connor, a wise and educated detective with ties with the Japanese and the then streaking hot, Wesley Snipes, as Lt. Webster Smith, an African-American detective paired off together after a murder of young woman of seemingly no importance has taken place at the Nakamoto Corporation during a very important party. Connor and Smith are are seemingly at odds at first but soon to begin to see eye to eye in the Japanese traditional sense with Connor calling him “Kohai”, and soon start to unravel a “shadow world” involving a familiar face in Connor’s life, in playboy Eddie Sakamura (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, “Mortal Kombat”) who may or not be the main suspect in the murder, a corporate deal revolving an up and coming computer company “Microcon”, a slick, get it done at all odds executive Bob Richmond (Kevin Anderson, “Sleeping With The Enemy”), Nakamoto’s CEO (Mako, “Conan The Barbarian”)’s assistant, Ishihara (Stan Egi, “Gung Ho”) and a seemingly corrupt Senator Morton (Ray Wise,”RoboCop”). While Connor and Smith are odds with members of their own police department including the racist and hard boiled Lt. Graham (Harvey Keitel, “Pulp Fiction”) and a scumbag L.A. Times reporter Wilhelm (Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”) as they try to solve the murder of the woman found in the executive boardroom by utilizing the latest and “future” state of the art technology with the help of Jingo (Tia Carrere, “True Lies”) who has a mysterious life of her own.
The film was a hit at the box office despite being hammered by most critics and after twenty years, it is a much stronger film than critics gave it credit for. I’ve personally always liked it and is strongly entertaining in every aspect both visually and storywise. Both Connery and Snipes were perfectly cast and the films’ final aspect that tied everything together is the work of legendary Japanese composer, Toru Takemitsu who made his lone U.S. scoring debut with this film and would be one his last. The score is an exceptional taste of suspense moods and wonderful melodic material that is at times haunting and elegant. It is a classy suspense score that really was the right choice for the film’s moods and it really does drive the film.
The score is largely suspense, but as I stated earlier it is elegant and moody creating an atmosphere that borders on both the Japanese “shadow” world and Western world utilizing the Ondes Martenot (a French keyboard), sultry saxophones and aggressive string work. “Board Meeting” which opens the film is a moody piece that immediately establishes one of the score’s central themes which as the score progresses, grows into a bigger much sustained piece of wonderful orchestrations and varied moods that create the mystery and suspense as featured in the tracks “Web Meets Connor”, “Eddie Revealed On Disc”, “So Eddie Witnessed The Murder”, “Chase”, “Senator Morton Gets Faxed” and “Nakamoto Steps”. Takemitsu’s sultry sax adds an element of sultry tension and it plays as a theme to Cheryl Lynn Austin character in the story which really does work in the tracks “Checking Out The Apartment”, “Eddie’s Alive”, and “Cemented”. The wonderful highlight of the score amongst many is “Web’s Confession”, a terrific track that plays out through a very vital scene about midway through the film in a confrontation scene between Snipes and Connery. The subtle mood really dominates the scene in which Takemitsu smartly let’s the two great actors play off each other. Takemitsu also creates a theme for Jingo and Web that plays out in “Always Let The Cage Door Open” for piano which is subtle and romantic in its own way in the film it’s shifted around which actually quite perfectly for another criticial scene midway through the film. The album and the film ends with “Tsunami” a great piece which is heard in the film’s original trailer performed on Taiko drums and is a great piece of music.
Kritzerland Records’ release presents the complete score as Takemitsu originally intended to play out within the film before alot of the score was trauncated in the final cut with some scenes tracked with other parts of score looped for other scenes not intended to have music originally, which actually did work. This album also presents the score in a much greater light because this score is a full bodied work that deserved a bitter fate when it was released 20 years ago on Fox Records omitting a whopping 45 plus minutes of terrific music that should’ve been there in the first place. This easily one of my favorite scores of 1993 and twenty years later, it is an exceptional work that really deserves to shine much brighter this time around. If you have to own a Toru Takemitsu score along side his great works on Seven Samurai, this one definitely deserves a good solid backing. Thumbs way up for this one. I love it.