xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Composed By:  Brian Tyler and Robert Lydecker

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the third installment of the xXx action thriller series, extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) returns from a self-imposed exile and finds himself in the middle of a race to recover Pandora’s Box, a seemingly unstoppable weapon.  Recruiting a new group of thrill-seekers to aid him in his quest, Xander and his team must not only face the deadly alpha warrior Xiang (Donnie Yen) and his team, but must come to grips with a deadly conspiracy revealing collusion at the highest level of world governments.  No problem!

                The musical score of xXx: The Return of Xander Cage was created by the composing team of Brian Tyler and Robert Lydecker.  Beginning his scoring career shortly after receiving his master’s degree from Harvard, Tyler has composed and conducted the scores of over seventy films and been named Film Composer of the Year at the 2014 Cue Awards.  Credits include the scores for Now You See Me, Rambo, Constantine, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious, Eagle Eye, Children of Dune and more.  Robert Lydecker is an Emmy-nominated composer who has worked alongside a number of composers like Brian Tyler, Sean Callery, Trevor Morris and Mark Isham.  Some of his credits include work on the scores of Sleepy Hollow, Designated Survivor, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Olympus Has Fallen, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more.

                Xander Cage is an extreme athlete.  To say that the score of any film containing this character would need to be action-packed is an understatement.  I saw the first xXx film in the theaters and the music for that film was adrenaline-pumping.  This being the third film in the series, the action was bound to be more impressive than the last two, requiring an amazingly high-powered score.  According to Brian Tyler, “xXX: The Return of Xander Cage is a wild movie and it needed a score to reflect the vibe that Xander Cage and his team has: attitude, skill, and a sense of humor about oneself…The music features an amazing orchestra which captures the emotion and epic qualities while the rock elements of the score reflect his hardcore attitude of the entire team in the film.”

                Thus, the xXx: The Return of Xander Cage Soundtrack is an awesome blend of orchestral and rock music with strings and horns accompanying rocking guitar riffs, synths and heavy percussion.  Your heart will be pumping a mile a minute just listening to the opening tracks of this twenty-one track album.  Each action track is more edgy and fast-paced than the next.  Mixed in between the action tracks are more subdued, but no less edgy, orchestral tracks in which we can picture the main character and his team going undercover or entering stealth mode.  These subdued tracks actually make the action tracks surrounding them more high-powered as you go from soft and slow to loud and racing. 

                The xXx: The Return of Xander Cage Soundtrack will be a great listen for fans of the film or just any fan of high-powered rocking music.  Just don’t listen to this album while you are driving or you are bound to get pulled over for speeding.


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