Warriors of Virtue/Don Davis
August 3, 2014
Limited edition of 1000 units
Warriors of Virtue (1997) was a dream come true for the four Law brothers who had the money to fund a film of their dreams. They emigrated from Hong Kong to Colorado and produced a fantasy/wire-fu/comedy about five warriors who each carry one of nature’s elements in his staff: wood, earth, fire, water, metal. Directed by Ronnie Lu the film failed at the box office and has more or less disappeared. The important thing that remains is the Don Davis score, one filled with fantasy, adventure, and tension phrases that seem to be nonstop for the 72 minute soundtrack. Previously released over 15 years ago on the Prometheus label (PCD 144) it is long out of print thus this new BSX re-release of the material.
One of the things that the Lee brothers insisted upon was they wanted it to sound like a John Williams score. Davis began working on the project in 1995 as he was commissioned to do a piece for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. It was from this commissioned piece “Of the Illuminated” that the motifs for the characters were found. The five motifs are all represented in “Forces of Nature” and “The Force of Water” cues. Davis explained in the liner notes how grueling this was to do and when there was a scene that required counterpoint of all five themes it was hard to “integrate them all without it sounding like a big mush.
“Main Title” is the one that starts the recording off with a long eerie chord followed by an equally creepy statement from the brass and then the woodwinds everything in the lower register and one of the quieter parts of the soundtrack. There is a building of hope, a bit of magic before the ominous chords are yet repeated again. Overall a dark beginning to the film score. “Bootleg Left” is from the brass with strong statements of victory over the evil forces. It does sound like it’s a Star Wars statement but definitely in the style of Don Davis. “Ryan and the Tunnel of Temptation” offers Ryan’s theme simply stated from the flute/woodwinds that conveys the innocence of this main character. “Vortex and the Dare” gives us the first reference to the classics in a short motif of “A Night on Bald Mountain,” the first of many passages that are filled with the classical themes. It also appears in “Chained Melody.” These passages are cleverly disguised and not easy to pick up unless you’re quite familiar with the works. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is featured in scenes with Mudlap and is perfect for the character. It is easier to pick up in “The Mudlap Trap.” This work by Dukas, little known for anything else, has been used by the cartoon side of Hollywood for a long time.
The evil character Komodo used a variation of the famous Stravinsky piece The Firebird Suite to musically portray him. He also used a bit of Mussorgsky’s A Night On Bald Mountain.
There is plenty of action track material in such cues as “The Force of Water,” “Tunnel of Blades,” and “Planet of the Roo-Warriors.” There structured style seems to offer loud brass chords that make you want to turn your stereo down but don’t because in the next moment there is a softer passage. Remember the Lee brothers told Davis we want a John Williams type score.
There are plenty of positives for getting this album such as appeal to action scores, full symphonic offerings, and John Williams type music. The 70 plus minute score will be pleasing to your palette with the great melodies, nice color, and excellent orchestrations. Remember this is a limited edition of only 1000 units so take advantage before it sells out.
Total Duration: 01:10:57