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AGAINST ALL ODDS

title: AGAINST ALL ODDS
year: 1984
cast: Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, Richard Widmark
rating: ***

A glossy, somewhat involving 1984 remake of the Film Noir classic OUT OF THE PAST is, other than the main plot, entirely different than its predecessor. And in three acts… like three movies in one… only two work successfully. Jeff Bridges is an injured pro football player who wants his job back, and, without a worthy gig and living a pointless, loveless existence, he takes shifty gambler James Wood’s job to find his missing girlfriend. This is the second act: Bridges seeking the mysterious, extremely gorgeous Rachel Ward in Mexico – and when he finds her, they quickly fall in love; after all, both are attractive, so why not? This is what the movie’s known for: the steamy jungle love scenes between the two stars. And while the audience, and both characters, know they’re in danger, James Wood’s presence, and any underlying threat, isn’t there to add intrigue to the forbidden romance: except one fight against hefty football coach Alex Karras. But when Ward disappears, and Bridges returns home, the pace picks up – the Noir origins playing out in a neatly constructed, fitfully confusing maze of a pawn caught between something neither he, or the audience, understands till the end: which is a satisfying, and surprisingly optimistic, conclusion. And the famous Phil Collins title track, a much bigger hit than the movie itself, plays during the end credits, although variations of the chorus glide in sporadically during love scenes.
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