" I am Robert Folk, hear my thunder! "
Written by Thomas Glorieux
- Review of
the regular release
Telling you how bad Beastmaster II: Through the Portal of Time is seems to be irrelevant, considering it was panned by critics and fans all over the world, criticizing the lack of any connection to its successful predecessor as just one of the many reasons. So one must wonder how on earth Robert Folk was able to write such a fantastic detailed orchestral score for such an uninspiring dribble. Easy, Robert Folk is just a very very very good composer. You may all know him of the Police Academy scores, but for many he is regarded as one of the finest composer's of the 80's and 90's, and an orchestral mastermind who knows how to deliver a whopping sound.
Nr. one on our lists to prove it, Beastmaster II: Through the Portal of Time.
Sadly, Intrada's release or Brian Masterson's recording doesn't do it justice. Though The Berlin Radio Concert Orchestra does a more than commendable job, Beastmaster II would thrive on a re recording or remastered version today, being able to send all those orchestral tones straight through your heart. Because what I would give to hear several tracks of this album through a different perspective?
Meaning, Beastmaster II has a lot to offer. Sometimes even too much to offer. Occasionally, Folk's music becomes such a busy experience that one mind isn't enough to let it sink through. Tracks like "Swamp Creature Attacks" and "Sharawk Leads the Way" does pound its intentions a little too harshly from time to time, offering bad ass balls to the walls music that doesn't have that fluent melodic sound of the other tracks. A track "Dar the Hero" does have. After several minutes of build up, get ready for a whopper of extreme proportions. Folk builds and builds to unleash at the end a main theme of heroic proportions. A main theme you were just dying to hear, a heroic theme that could have received a fan status if the movie wouldn't have been so goddamn horrendous.
Just listen to the send off of that main theme in "Through the Portal", what a fantastic finish. Listen to the soaring quality of it in "Travel Montage" or to the slightly slower pace in "Key to the Heart". Folk's theme bursts with adventure and pride just like Holdridge theme did for The Beastmaster. I just love this theme a little more in the end.
The score does give you ample time to devour Folk's orchestral style. The threatening sound of "Main Title" and "I.D. Badges" will remind you easily of the terrorist's music of Toy Soldiers, while the addition of synthesizers does make me think back at Robocop for some apparent reason in "I.D. Badges", "The Great Escape" and "Sharawk Leads the Way". By the way, "The Great Escape" is another fantastic track that showcases Folk's quality for rhythmic percussive action music. His other ability of nice dramatic music is not so frequent here, but be ready for some wonderful moments nonetheless in "Creature's Story" and "Key to the Heart".
In general, Beastmaster II: Through the Portal of Time is one of those albums that gets better over time. I've always liked portions of it the first time I heard it, but now after having heard another mediocre effort of today's movie music, you realize there was so much quality coming during the 80's and 90's. And it was quite a shame that a talent such as Robert Folk didn't receive so much attention. Because let's face it, Beastmaster II might have its disadvantages, it remains a whopper of orchestral strength nonetheless. And alongside Toy Soldiers and the unreleased Tremors, it's perhaps the best way to spell out Robert Folk, orchestral composer.
1. Main Title (1.52)
2. Dar the Hero (9.49) Excellent track
3. Creature's Story (2.22)
4. Through the Portal (5.09) Excellent track
5. Jackie Alone on Desert (1.29)
6. Swamp Creature Attacks (2.35)
7. Travel Montage (3.08) Excellent track
8. Mind Suck (2.05)
9. Police Escape (1.06)
10. Jackie Gets Some Sleep (0.51)
11. I.D. Badges (4.25)
12. Get Arklon (1.47)
13. The Great Escape (4.26) Excellent track
14. Sharawk Leads the Way (3.32)
15. Neutron Detonator (5.40)
16. Key to the Heart (5.32) Excellent track
Total Length: 55.48