Composed By: Fil Eisler
Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the film, CHIPS, based on the popular late 1970s/early 1980s television series, Dax Shepard is Jon Baker and Michael Peña is Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, two officers who have just joined the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles. Baker is a former pro-motorbiker attempting to put his life and marriage back together, while Ponch is an undercover Federal Agent investigating a multi-million dollar heist that may be an inside job.
The musical score of CHIPS was created by Chech-born, English-raised multi-instrumentalist, conductor and composer Fil Eisler. Beginning his career as a touring musician and recording with artists such as Robbie Williams, Ryan Adams, Marco Beltrami, Kylie Minogue and more, Eisler has created musical score for television and film. Some of his works include the musical scores of How to Be Single, Newtown, Whatever It Takes, On the Ice, Off Season, Natural Selection, Freaks of Nature, Empire, Revenge, Shameless, UnReal and Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.
CHIPS tanked in the box office. I had no interest in seeing the movie, disgusted at the fact that Hollywood remakes of television series I enjoyed as a kid always seem to poke fun at them. Hollywood takes television series that were dramas when they originally aired and turns them into unfunny comedies. It feels as though they are actually making fun of the fans of the series and don’t take the work seriously…like those shows were too campy to be made into anything other than a comedy. So, when I received the CHIPS Soundtrack, I simply rolled my eyes. Who knew I would actually like it?!
Maybe the writers were a bit off with their interpretation of the hit television series, but Fil Eisler was spot on with the music he created for the film version of CHIPS. The opening and closing sequences include excerpts of the original television theme with a minor modernization tweak. The rest of the album is a nostalgia-fest with synths, electric guitars, bongos, snares and hard hats and trumpets in a score reminiscent of that one would have experienced while watching the television series. Mixed in the middle of the album is a random heavy metal instrumental aptly titled Random Metal Outburst and the slow groove of the Jon and Ava Love Theme.
Fans of the series will enjoy the CHIPS Soundtrack even if they didn’t like the film. It’s a slight modernization of an old classic and will leave you with a rush of nostalgia for your beloved television series. Fans of the movie…not sure how many are out there…will enjoy recalling scenes from the film while listening to the score. A great job by Fil Eisler!