Perpetrated by Taylor Hackford and Columbia Pictures
You’ve heard of film noir? This is more like film nah. Or probably more precisely, neo-nah.
I can’t list the P.I who has the lead role in this sloppy-seconds remake of Out of the Past, the 1947 noir classic, because, well, there is no P.I.–they got rid of him. And that’s the least of their sins.
Instead of Robert Mitchum’s haunted, doomed-looking ex-P.I., we get the usually dependable Jeff Bridges as TERRY BROGAN, a down-on-his-luck but nicely tanned ex-football player turned bronzed Adonis, hired to track down slimy crimeboss James Woods’ (originally played by Kirk Douglas) ex-girlfriend Rachel Ward (originally played by Jane Greer). Because, of course, if you want to find someone, you hire a washed up ex-jock with no known detective skills.
It’s a shame, because Bridges, Ward and Woods are all very talented actors.
But then, 1980s Taylor Hackford isn’t 1940s Jacques Tourneur. The 1947 film was tight and right; the remake is forced and flabby. It is pretty-to-look-at (especially the cast), but this hot mess adds more than half-an-hour to the running time, and with all that extra room I still can’t figure out where the hell it’s going. Granted, we do get to see a lot of lovely Mexican scenery (can you smell tax-write-off?), a more-than-decent car chase along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and some pretty credible (and steamy) bursts of passion as Bridges and Ward square off against each other.
But it’s not enough.
Sad, sad, sad. I thought it then, and I think it now. And yet, it packed ’em in upon release, Phil Collins’ earworm of a theme song soared the charts and even more inexplicably, the film itself starting to gain a cult following.
Want another reason to cry? This thing was released on DVD years before the far superior Out of the Past ever was.
Hackford does toss us one bone, however: Jane Greer shows up in a bit part as the quietly wicked mother of Ms. Ward, and old noir pro Richard Widmark also drops in. They’re not enough to save this air-brushed turkey, but it’s a nice touch.
- “Against All Odds has its moments, but too often the film plays less like an official remake of Out of the Past and more like an unofficial prequel to Tequila Sunrise.
— Daniel Barnes
- AGAINST ALL ODDS | Buy this DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
128 minutes, colour
Based on the screenplay of Out of the Past by Daniel Mainwaring, and the novel Build My Gallows High by Geoffrey Homes (Daniel Mainwaring)
Screenplay by Eric Hughes
Directed by Taylor Hackford
Title song “Against All Odds” written and performed by Phil Collins
Produced by William S. Gilmore, Taylor Hackford
Associate producer: Bill Borden
Starring Jeff Bridges as TERRY BROGAN
Also starring Rachel Ward, James Woods, Jane Greer, Alex Karras, Richard Widmark, Dorian Harewood, Swoosie Kurtz, Saul Rubinek, Pat Corley, Bill McKinney, Allen Williams, Sam Scarber, Kid Creole & the Coconuts