“Flight Of The Intruder”
Music By Basil Poledouris
Intrada Special Collection Vol. 227
20 Tracks/Disc Time: 55:25 Grade: C+
In the early 1990’s just before the unexpected developments of the Gulf War ensued, Hollywood was always fascinated and produced war films or films that featured the elements of war in particular situations ranging from Tom Clancy’s cold war thriller, The Hunt For Red October, the Oscar winning Platoon by Oliver Stone, Stanley Kubrick’s seminal Full Metal Jacket to more modern action fare like Commando, Rambo, Red Dawn, Uncommon Valor, Top Gun, Iron Eagle and intellegent warfare like War Games, that didn’t require on screen killing but the thought a of nuclear holocaust was frightening enough. We also saw a very pensive and true to life story about the aftermath of war with Born On The Fourth Of July and The Deer Hunter. Flight of the Intruder is a film that fits into the mold of a moving and pensive character study that has some pretty good action sequences that had the misfortune of being bumped from its original Summer 1990 release slate to just after the Gulf War had commenced and the film suffered because of it as well as the delay. The film which is based on the novel by Stephen Coonts and directed by John Milius, who was a director with a rather unique take on politics in his own right stars Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe, Brad Johnson and Rosanna Arquette in a story about a carrier-based Intruder pilot named Jake Grafton (Johnson), who after his bombardier is killed starts to question the purpose of Navy bombing missions. He finds an ally for his cynicism in Virgil Cole (Dafoe), a bombardier on his third tour of duty, and together they ponder the notion of one unsanctioned mission “downtown”, to “Sam City” in North Vietnam.
With Millius at the helm, this was a no brainer that his friend and musical collaborator the late Basil Poledouris would provide the music for his film. Poledouris, who met Millius at USC when they were students there had scored Millius’ most successful films which include Conan The Barbarian, Red Dawn, Big Wednesday and another pensive anti-war film, Farewell To The King was enjoying a successful run musically after scoring the hit mini-series, Lonesome Dove and really broke out into the mainstream with major league box office hits in RoboCop and The Hunt For Red October. The score is a fine effort by Poledouris, one that isn’t unlike is work for Farewell To The King and mostly driven by emotional depth and passion for the characters’ thoughts and motivations that affect them deeply like on the track, “Cole Decides To Bomb Hanoi”, a pensive track that doesn’t overwhelm, but it is effective in creating an emotion. This is an attribute that Poledouris really was a master of and seriously underrated when it came to this type of material.
There’s also no shortage of patriotic material either which includes ” Boxman’s Death”, “Alpha Strike”, which introduces the score’s signature main theme which is a brilliant military march that rousing in every way and on the flip side of that some moving elegaic passages that are very memorable in “Morg’s Death” and “Morg’s Funeral”. There’s also plenty of action on hand that Poledouris does provide some rousing energetic material to in tracks such as “Iron Hand Mission”, “Chase For Five Dollars”, “Raid On Hanoi” and “Rescue”, that are very exciting tracks, much like the dramatic material in the score. The score ends with a rousing reprise of the score’s main theme “Final Scene” which is a proper close to this fine score. Intrada’s album is long time in coming and fills in a major gap for the composer with this very energetic and intellegent score that does hit all its notes, but the film didn’t sadly. Flight of the Intruder is an example of what a great composer Basil Poledouris really was and is now lost. However, the most important thing is that his music will always live on and meant to be rediscovered again and again. Flight of the Intruder is a testament to that and while it’s not up there with the likes of RoboCop or Conan, this score still a solid effort should stand out as part of his finest works. Recommended!