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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Against All Odds Special Edition
Against All Odds Special Edition
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Review by Yvonne Tresnan | posted May 18, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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What's It All About?
Jeff Bridges stars as aging pro football player Terry Brogan. Brogan gets cut from the team and falls into the services of connected bookmaker Jake (James Woods). Jake asks Terry to find the missing Jessie (Rachel Ward), the love of his life who just happened to stab him in the leg last week. It turns out that this love just happens to be the daughter of owner of the football team that Terry just got cut from. To begin his search Terry visits the owner, Jessie's mom who also happens to be working on a huge real estate venture. Mom tells Terry that he should work for her, she'll double whatever Jake is paying him. And all he has to do is find Jessie and keep an eye on her. Now don't ask why neither of these extremely wealthy and connected people should want a football player on the job instead of a real detective, that would make too much sense. And sense is what this film is lacking. Terry decides to accept Jake's $10,000 and travel to Mexico in search of the rebellious Jessie. He has no intentions of turning her over to Jake, he just figures he can make a quick ten grand and take a nice long vacation. Despite this he works himself into a frenzied sweat each day searching for her, showing her picture around. After days of fruitless searching he sits down to drink a beer and who does he spot across the street? Jessie of course! Against all odds he has stumbled on the needle in a haystack. Of course Terry and Jessie fall in love and what follows is a slow, rambling mess that has Jessie killing another lackey from the football team sent by Jake to bring Jessie back, Jessie running back to Jake for no good reason, Terry being set up for the murder of his lawyer (don't worry if you think I'm dropping spoilers you'll see all this coming from miles away), and the unraveling of real-estate subplot. In the end none of it makes much sense. "Odds" tries to be film noir but lacks the sensibilities of the genre. It tries to be suspenseful and intriguing but it's plot twists are just convoluted.

How Does It Look?
Columbia's anamorphic widescreen transfer is in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and comes off pretty well. The film is somewhat drab to begin with but the transfer successfully captures what the director shot. There are a few scenes film grain is noticeable but it's not so significant as to distract from what you're watching.

How Does It Sound?
Included for your listening pleasure are two soundtracks. One is the (I believe) original 2.0 Dolby Surround track and a new Dolby Digital 4.0 track. I viewed the film in the 4.0 mode as I've never heard a four channel track before. I was surprised that it worked as well as it did. The rear speakers were used for sound effects and music and provided good sound separation. At times, the music seemed a bit too loud and the dialogue a little soft. Overall the track was solid and very good directional sound stage. Extras, Extras, Extras!
Columbia/Tri-Star brings Against All Odds to us in special edition format. I'm not sure why they did it, but if the DVD is going to hang it's hat on anything, it's the extras. First up is Audio Commentary from director Taylor Hackford and writer Eric Hughes. One has to applaud the appreciation Hackford has for DVD as he has a history for supporting supplemental material for all of his works. In this track Hackford and Hughes supply a lot of good information as to story related elements and behind the scenes info on making Against All Odds. A second commentary track is available featuring Hackford again, this time joined by Jeff Bridges and James Woods. This track is much more fun as you get the sense that three guys are sitting around having fun and laughing about old times. James Woods is unexpectedly funny and the highlight of this track. Next up are seven deleted scenes, all presented full frame and with optional director commentary. Some of the scenes are more rough than others but they are all very watchable. Running time on these scenes is a surprising 24 minutes and are a great addition (I'm a sucker for deleted stuff!). Two music videos are included for your listening/viewing pleasure. First is Kid Creole and the Coconuts' "My Male Curiosity". This music must be to someone's tastes but not mine. Thankfully Phil Collins' title song "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" is also included. Personally I think this song is the best part of the movie and it's nice to have the video on the disc. Also included are theatrical trailers for Against All Odds as well as The Last Picture Show, Starman and Arlington Road, all Jeff Bridges features. Arlington Road is widescreen with DD5.1 while all the rest are full screen mono. Last up are the obligatory Talent Files that provide a little info on Hackford, Bridges, Woods and Ward. Nothing major here.

Wrap Up:
It's nice to see so much effort put into DVD and a hearty cheer should be offered for Hackford's enthusiastic support for the format. I wish other directors would take a lesson from Hackford and contribute to making DVD even better than it already is by lending their support to special edition presentation of their films. All that being said, I still can't understand why Against All Odds merits this sort of presentation. I'm sure there are fans of this film out there, and to them I say go get it! This is the presentation of the film you've been waiting for since 1984. As far as special editions go this couldn't get much better. If you've not seen the film before I'd rent it first. If nothing else, what you'll get out of this DVD is how special editions should be handled and the opportunity to see Bridges and Woods turn in pretty good performances. Sigh, if only the film was better.

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