If you’ve been watching movies for any length of time, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the work of Hans Zimmer. One of the most prolific and popular musical score composers ever, Zimmer’s work dates back to the 1980’s but really took off in the 1990’s. More recently, he has scored such hits as the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, among countless others.
Released in December of 1994, Drop Zone is a film that few saw and even fewer remember. It came out during Wesley Snipes’ heyday and featured a characteristically absurd Gary Busey leading a team of skyjackers and computer hackers in an attempt to steal sensitive data from DEA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Most memorable is the breathtaking skydiving footage directed by John Badham.
Zimmer’s score for the film is really something. The non-expanded version runs a scant thirty-seven minutes, with the centerpiece, “Too Many Notes, Not Enough Rests”, eating up about 1/3 of that time. It’s a sprawling track that features numerous Zimmer trademarks that weren’t trademarks at the time – and a riff that would go on to define the memorable score for the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
The opening two minutes form a vision of the majesty and adventure that skydiving must be (hell if I’ll ever try it, though). It’s a nice build-up to the payoff at 2:03. Sound familiar? It’s the early form of one of the most recognizable pieces of movie music out there. The remaining minutes alternate between rest and action, accompanied by energetic string arrangements and dynamic lead guitar solos. The passage beginning at 7:00 is a driving force behind the film and punctuates the on-screen action perfectly.
At this point entire sites could be devoted to Zimmer’s work, but his job on Drop Zone is one of his most under-appreciated since it seems to have gotten lost in what was a flurry of mid-90’s action film releases and the lukewarm reception Drop Zone received. This is one of his finest compositions and a hidden gem for original score aficionados and Zimmer completists.