Sengoku Self Defense Force 1549
International Title
 Samurai Commando: Mission 1549
Music By: Shezoo
Record Label: Victor
Running Time: 72:21 Discs: 1
Release: June 2005 CD Number: VICL-61658
Anthony Romero
This movie, a remake of the 1979 G.I. Samurai, seeks to update the "fish out of water" theme as its modern day military personnel, and their machinery, are thrust more than 400 years into the past. Now the original, which is best remembered for staring Sonny Chiba, was somewhat of a cult hit. To some its infamous, myself included in that regard, while to others its an amusing action romp. Regardless of one's feelings, one thing that is for sure: the music to the 1979 movie is fairly dated today. Composed by Kentaro Haneda, the score had a very contemporary feeling to it. So how was the score, done by the oddly named Shezoo, handled for the remake? Given the artist, I was expecting something more akin to the soundtrack for Ganryujima (2003), which had a slight techno flavor to it. Those expectations proved to be incredibly off base, though. As it turns out, Shezoo produces a very traditional soundtrack for the movie led by an orchestra. Unfortunately, it lacks in the way of a standout theme, but makes for a decent standalone listen regardless.

To give a perspective as to the music as a whole, it's a very violin dominated body of work. Extremely so in fact. Many tracks, such as "Rei's Theme", are almost entirely led by the string instrument. A few tracks are diversely different, though, such as the "Horse-riding Warrior" that leads with a bamboo flute segment that does a good job to create the "futile" backdrop of the movie. The chorus led "The Law of Sengoku" also stands out from the pack, although the vocal work leaves some to be desired. Regrettably, despite some of the strength of Shezoo's compositions, there are a few themes here which could simply be described as boring. There tracks, like the slowly paced and overly long "Time Slip", simply fail to entice. As for tracks that do rise to the occasion and make for a memorable theme, sadly there aren't many. "Sengoku Self Defense Force 1549" is quite nice, which opens and closes the CD, as is the "The Dark Princess' Theme"... yet the rest of the body of work has a hard time making an impression on the listener.

Overall, despite the lack of praise I can muster for it, the disc as a whole is not bad. If one is in the mood for something soft and slow, without much emphasis on action tracks of any sorts, then Shezoo's work on Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 might be enticing. It's a fairly long CD, coming in at 72 minutes, as well. Personally, due to the more subdued nature, I was using the CD to lull myself into sleep late at night on more than one occasion, to which it's quite successful.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Sengoku Self Defense Force 1549
  2. Experiment Area
  3. Raid
  4. Time Slip
  5. Hole
  6. Shichibe's Theme
  7. The Responsibility for the Future - Kashima's Theme
  8. Operation Romeo
  9. The Standing of the Turtle Green Solider
  10. Kashima and Rei
  11. Horse-riding Warrior
  12. To the Inside of the Castle
  13. The Law of Sengoku
  14. MHD
  15. The Dark Princess' Theme
  16. Rescue and Loss
  17. The Hour of Decision
  18. Rei's Theme
  19. The Last Decisive Battle
  20. Those that are Entrusted with the Future
  21. A New Beginning
  22. The Castle Burns
  23. Aspiration
  24. Repatriation - Reverse
  25. Sengoku Self Defense Force 1549 - The Future...