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Against All Odds
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Reviews & Ratings for
Against All Odds More at IMDbPro »

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28 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

An effective neo-noir that gets a little convuluted towards the end

7/10
Author: Frankie from studio city
26 March 2003

Just recently discovering this on dvd, I'm actually suprised I haven't heard much about it before. A modern film noir that's a very loose remake of "Out of the Past" with Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas. The film instead focuses on gorgeous, sunny locations like Mexico and the finer locations of L.A. instead of the dark and grungy look that most film noir's follow. Jeff Bridges stars as a pro L.A. football player that gets cut because of a mild injury. Upset because he has some good years left in him, he attempts to sue the team to no avail. Broke and looking for a job, a shady past friend played by James Woods shows up with a job offer: find his girlfriend who split on him and headed to Mexico. This girlfriend also happens to be the daughter of the woman who owns the L.A. pro football team, a ruthless business woman who is primarily interested in real estate and inherited the team from her late husband. When he decides he needs a vacation and the money, he takes Woods up on his offer. After a couple days of useless searching, he finally finds her...and immediately falls in love. The femme fatale is played by Rachel Ward, a hot commodity back then, coming off of The Thornbirds. A spoiled rich princess-type, she eventually succumbs to him and the following scenes are some of the most beautiful sequences put on film. The only commercial movie that has filmed scenes in the gorgeous ancient ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum, these sequences make the film. The sex scene is one of the best I've seen, really putting a passion on the screen without becoming too...late night cinemax. Unfortunately, from here, the film plummets into a convuluted mess trying to deal with issues that seem out of place with the film: The L.A. business elite, gambling, real estate, etc. I think the film is definitely worth a watch for the first two-thirds alone. Also, dvd fans are encouraged to listen to the cast commentary. One of the better commentaries I've heard, there is a lot of great anecdotes from a rare track by Jeff Bridges and James Woods. The two leads really seem to come off as real friends joking and ribbing each other, unlike some of the stuffy professional actor commentaries that are usually the case.

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25 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

VERY loose remake of "Out of the Past"

6/10
Author: preppy-3 from United States
28 January 2005

Ex football player Terry Brogran (Jeff Bridges) takes a job from sleazy friend Jake Wise (James Woods)--find his ex girlfriend Jessie Wyler (Rachel Ward) who shot him and ran away with a large amount of his cash. Terry tracks Jessie to Mexico...and immediately they fall in love. That's the first hour--the second hour becomes very convoluted with murders and double crosses all over the place.

Interesting movie which is a semi-remake of "Out of the Past". In fact Jane Greer from the original plays the mother of her character here! The original was a strong, well-written film noir. This is not film noir--it's a combination romance/mystery/melodrama. Also Greer played a totally amoral woman in the original--here Ward isn't amoral, just misunderstood. Also Bridges is all pumped up and him and Ward work wonderfully together. Their frequent very R rated sex scenes really work. And it looks great--a portion of the film takes place in Mexico. Still there are definite problems here.

One character, Edie (Swoosie Kurtz) is introduced to provide some REAL clumsy exposition...and doesn't pop up again until a HOUR later. I had forgotten who she was! Alex Karras is incredibly bad in his role. The plot gets way too confused. And the movie isn't sure what it wants to be. It switches gears so much I thought I was gonna get whiplash! The best part of the movie--an incredible car race down Sunset Blvd. has NOTHING to do with anything in the movie! The acting is pretty good. Bridges (in one of his few commercial films) and Ward LOOK fantastic, have great bodies and are both good in their roles. Woods is, surprisingly, pretty wooden. Greer isn't in much but she IS very good. And Richard Widmark hams it up in his small role.

Also the film has a surprisingly somewhat downbeat ending. And there's a wonderful title song by Phil Collins (nominated for an Academy Award).

A very interesting movie. I give it a 6. A sizable hit in its day--but that's because of the steamy sex scenes between Ward and Bridges.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

You'll Have To Judge for Yourself

7/10
Author: Bolesroor from New York, NY USA
18 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If I could tidily sum up "Against All Odds" in a witty or clever review I surely would, but it's not that kind of film. If you read the other user reviews you'll see that everyone has their own different opinion, loving the movie or hating it for their own personal reasons. And now I'll share my personal reasons with you...

I was just a kid when the movie was released, and far too young to see it. I was, however, aware at the time that every man in America was in love with Rachel Ward and that the Phil Collins title song (and video) was played incessantly. From what I had heard and seen of the movie it seemed very adult, even taboo... unusual in the (mostly) family-friendly 1980's.

Flash forward twenty years... I finally saw the movie on cable... it was great, not just as a film but because I'd been waiting so long to see it. It's an adult movie, a loose remake of an old film noir but "Against All Odds" never gets too heavy. The mistake so many noir-wannabes make is to have the characters so dark, so doomed, so DAMNED, that you lose all sympathy for them. This film avoids that, carefully showing how decent people can do terrible things and still remain... decent people.

Jake Wise (James Woods, great as always)- is the skunky, understated gangster who hires his footballer buddy Terry Brogan (Jeff Bridges) to find his missing girlfriend Jess (Rachel Ward). Terry finds the sultry, irresistible girl in South America but decides not to tell Jake, opting instead to take her to bed and spend two weeks with her in paradise. Trouble finds them, as it always does, and the rest of the film is spent unraveling the web in which all three find themselves, with enough surprises to keep you guessing.

This film also fits nicely into my favorite sub-genre: The 80's Cocaine Nightmare. Such films- including "Bright Lights, Big City," "American Psycho," "Tequila Sunrise," and "Less Than Zero"- feature successful, beautiful people whose greed, ambition, and love of the flake eventually bring them to their sticky end.

You may love it, you may hate it, but "Against All Odds" to me is a definitive 80's movie. It just works. And the final scene- scored by Phil Collins' title song- is perfection.

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

One of the best films of the 80's

10/10
Author: pgreenfi from England
13 July 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just bought and watched this DVD. This is the first time I've watched this film for many years. I've always loved this film and its great to finally own it on DVD. Its hard to believe this film is 20 years old now but it hasn't dated and is one of the best films to come out of the 80's. Its a cracking thriller that goes along at a fast pace. it does get a bit muddled in the middle as the plot unfolds but builds up to a dramatic ending. Rachel Ward is totally stunning in this film and has a fantastic body though sadly we don't get to see all of her body thanks to some pretty remarkable camera work!! The scenes between her and Jeff Bridges are very hot. James Woods is great in this film as well. Its a real tear jerking end with the end credits rolling to Phil Collins greatest ever song 'Against all Odds' with our two stars of the film unable to be with each other thanks to Rachel Ward's powerful family. If ever a film needed a sequel it was this one but sadly it was never made. This film is well worth owning on DVD and can be bought at a pretty cheap price and comes with quite a few deleted scenes which do add to the film. I must check out the Directors commentary with James Wood and Jeff Bridges. On the whole this is a very watchable film with some very steamy scenes. I give it 8 1/2 out of 10. A little known fact is that the song 'Against All Odds' was a reject song from one of Phil Collin's albums which he deemed wasn't good enough for the album!!!!

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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Above average film noir remake

9/10
Author: aromatic-2 from New York, NY
1 May 2000

Loosely based on Out Of The Past, this updating brings some new elements, many of which work, a few of which don't. Neat use of Jane Greer, heroine of the first film, as heroine's mother. So many new twists and turns, knowing the original will not spoil this thriller's conclusion. Only thing as per usual with Taylor Hackford, the film goes on a bit too long, but most of it is so good, you won't mind.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes it takes more than love...

Author: shanfeldt from Pennsylvania
18 August 2004

The single thing that stand out most for me in this film is the very last shot of Rachel Ward looking at the camera while Phil Collins, singing the title song, says "How can I just watch you walk away, when all I can do is watch you leave".

If you've ever been part of a couple where 2 people loved each other so very much, but it had to end because circumstances like jobs, school, parents, etc. made it impossible to continue, this movie is for you.

If you've lived through a time in your life when you and your friends/lovers were immortal-young lions-with the world at your feet, but one day you sense a change of seasons in the air... a change that for shadows the coming of the real world you always knew was there but that you had hoped against hope to avoid, you'll love this movie.

Great characters, solid performances, top notch script, beautiful natural scenery in Mexico, great soundtrack and a real "LA in the 80's" feel. For the most part the film holds up well today and the "look" is timeless. Very few holes in the plot, if any, and a fine supporting cast.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful flawed noir.......

6/10
Author: merklekranz from United States
27 November 2007

Parts of "Against All Odds" are absolutely magnificent. The Mexican location photography is terrific. Rachel Ward looks great as does Jeff Bridges. The chemistry between them is mostly believable. I liked James Wood's smarmy, pompous, character. Alex Karras seemed miscast, as did Richard Widmark. The story piles on a thickening plot that occasionally wanders off course, and is probably more complex than necessary. No police are involved, and bodies too conveniently disappear. The ending seems especially forced, with an outcome that is less than satisfying.

The film is beautiful, however the characters are mostly unlikeable, including Rachel Ward's. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this partially flawed movie. - MERK

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Excellent 80s B-Movie

7/10
Author: krisrox from Netherlands
13 June 2011

I expected a cringefest, but actually ended up liking this movie a lot. Befitting its era, it has a sleazy "Miami Vice" atmosphere, complete with Porsches, Ferraris, casual jackets, big hair and a great soundtrack including a live show by the one and only Kid Creole. But there's more. Nice location shoots in Mexico - Cozumel, Tulum and Chichen Itza. Jeff Bridges and James Woods, who play fairly complex characters well. A dark script that delivers some good moments, especially during the final 30 minutes.

Yes, it's a B-movie, and at times it feels like a protracted episode of Knight Rider, the A-Team or the aforementioned Miami Vice. But is that a bad thing?

If you're looking for a real 80s experience, find "Against All Odds" on VHS, pop it in your VCR and soak it in.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

From Evil to Spoiled

6/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
7 September 2007

Against All Odds is an less than effective remake of Out of the Past that RKO noir classic that starred Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas and Rhonda Fleming. Not that the players in this film are bad, far from it. But the whole basic structure of the story was completely changed.

What made Out of the Past the classic it is, is the moody tension and overwhelming sadness surrounding the leading characters. Most of all Jane Greer who is an evil temptress beyond description bringing death and destruction to all around her.

Jane Greer is in this film, but as the mother of Rachel Ward who plays the part Greer had in the original. Ward in this one is just a spoiled young woman who runs off with bookie James Woods to upset mom and then runs off with him.

Greer is the owner of a professional football team in Los Angeles which she runs with her high priced fixer of a lawyer Richard Widmark. I think they're characters are modeled on Joan Payson who was the original owner of the New York Mets and M. Donald Grant who was reputed to be the hard character Widmark portrays.

Anyway Jeff Bridges gets into the act when he's cut from Greer's team and goes to work for Woods trying to locate Ward. The rest of the film is pretty much following the plot of Out of the Past until the ending which is completely different. Remember how everyone ended up in the RKO film and the same doesn't happen to most of them.

Still it's not a bad film, but Against All Odds just won't be a classic.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Woods and Bridges Carry Often Confusing Film

7/10
Author: dglink from Alexandria, VA
5 August 2012

Loosely based on a 1947 film noir, "Out of the Past," Taylor Hackford's "Against All Odds" has strong performances in all but the most critical role. Jessie, a confused disoriented heiress, is the romantic obsession of two men and the crux of the film's action. However, Rachel Ward fails to convince that Jessie could obsess anyone with her flat delivery and phoned-in performance. Jessie runs off to Mexico to snorkel and shop, and her gangster boyfriend hires an injured football player to find her. Sending a handsome hunky athlete off to find your girlfriend at the beach is not an inspired idea, and both the expected and the unexpected ensue. The twisted convoluted tale occasionally meanders, and the pacing falters at times. However, when the sweaty romantic scenes are over, the plot manages to re-energize and re-capture attention towards the fade out.

Despite her physical beauty, Ward is the black hole at the film's center. However, her two co-stars are more captivating. James Woods can play slimy gangsters in his sleep, and his Jake Wise is appropriately chilling and creepy, which makes Jessie's attraction to him even less convincing. Evidently Jake had a brain fart when he decided to hire Terry Brogan to search for the girl who deserted him, because Jake and Terry are worlds apart in the looks and charm departments. Jeff Bridges's athletic Terry, who has history with Jake, is unwittingly drawn into a vortex of corruption during his search for Jessie. Although always watchable, Jeff Bridges has had better and more demanding roles than an injured jock playing private eye. Despite a decent script adapted by Eric Hughes from Daniel Mainwaring's original, the film's central mystery is why Jake and Terry would be hopelessly drawn to a shallow drifter like Jessie. Ward received top billing over Bridges and Woods, another mystery as baffling as any in the plot.

Experienced veterans provide solid supporting performances, led by a still-handsome Richard Widmark, who, at age 70, remained a commanding presence. In a nod to film buffs, Jane Greer, star of the 1947 version, appears as Ward's cold distant mother. Location work in the Mayan temples of Mexico's Yucatan is travel-log appealing, and the end credits feature an Oscar-nominated title song by Phil Collins. An exciting car race through Los Angeles traffic is thrilling, if pointlessly reckless. Although "Against All Odds" runs more than 20 minutes longer than the 1947 original, Bridges and especially Woods are compelling enough to hold attention even when the tricky plot wanders.

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