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Soundtrack Review

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The Eight Hundred
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Andrew Kawczynski
Label: Go East Music Entertainment
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 21 August 2020

Go East Music Entertainment release the original score to The Eight Hundred, a Chinese historical war drama film set during the early days of the Second Sino-Japanese War, and on a greater scale World War II. The Imperial Japanese Army invaded Shanghai, which became known as The Battle of Shanghai. After holding back the Japanese for over three months, and suffering heavy losses, the Chinese army was in full retreat...

While The Eight Hundred is scored wonderfully by Andrew Kawczynski, the producers decided to employ Harry Gregson-Williams to compose the main theme. This is something that happens from time to time (Hans Zimmer has become quite adept at writing the theme to movies while another, lesser known composer does the real hard work). Personally, I've always felt this is a bit of a kick in the teeth to a composer. They're obviously trusted enough to do the real donkey work, but the one piece that will bring them recognition is handed over to a much bigger name. This was something that the Call of Duty games used to undertake - with Gregson-Williams and Zimmer being employed to write the themes for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare II respectively, while the majority of the score was composed by Stephen Barton and Lorne Balfe.

Here Kawczynski delivers a good, solid collection of epic and memorable themes that are emotive and engaging. He also does an impressive job of mixing western and asian musical styles without leaning on the usual cliches.

Tracks like 'Day 1' and 'Overstepped Boundaries' inject real jeopardy and excitement into the score. The album also includes two versions of the song 'Remembering' performed by Andrea Bocelli and Na Ying (Chinese Version and International Version).

This is an incredible soundtrack which has so many little moments that make it worth adding to any serious soundtrack collector's library.


Darren Rea

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