The jukebox jury’s still out on whether electronica is the next big whatever, but one trend is already clear: It’s the genre of choice for soundtracks. This year alone, the throbbing rush of various techno offshoots has whooshed through major-studio films like The Saint and 187, and the techno-color wave continues on the soundtracks to The Jackal and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

The Jackal is a particularly neon-lit sign of changing times: A year ago, could anyone have imagined that the theme to a Bruce Willis thriller would be by British DJ L.T.J. Bukem? Bukem’s ”Demon’s Theme” features his usual blend of hopped-up breakbeats and New Age synths; along with similarly elegant tracks by Goldie and Moby, it transports instrumental scores into the computer age. Black Grape and Fatboy Slim, meanwhile, contribute kicky rave-party high jinks. A few crass attempts at arena-rock techno are buzzkills, but Goldie’s clever drum-and-bass remix of Bush’s ”Swallowed” splinters the track into jagged shards, and Massive Attack’s electro-dub ”Superpredators (Metal Postcard)” comes off like a funky Jamaican videogame.

One of the most grating tracks on The Jackal — Lunatic Calm’s robo-sleaze ”Leave U Far Behind” — also appears on Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. The first Kombat movie pioneered the use of electronica in film — what better music for a flick based on computerized massacres? Alas, too much of its sequel’s soundtrack is devoted to generic, bludgeoning metal-techno. Only a few cuts, like the sirenlike wail of Libra Presents Taylor’s ”Anomaly (Calling Your Name),” offer relief. Save a few quarters for some Advil. The Jackal: B; Mortal Kombat: Annihilation: C-

Various Artists
The Jackal: Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture

Various Artists
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation — Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Jackal
  • Movie
  • 112 minutes