Against All Odds appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. In general, the picture looked pretty good, though it never reached a consistent level of excellence.
For the most part, sharpness seemed positive. Wide shots tended to be a bit soft, though, which was partly a reflection of the 80s film stock. Overall definition remained solid.
No issues with jaggies or shimmering materialized, and edge haloes were minor. I also noticed only a handful of source flaws, as a few specks cropped up but nothing serious.
Colors were fine. Again, the era’s film stocks created some issues here, as the image suffered from a bit of the typical mid-80s muddiness. Not much of this occurred, though, and so the hues usually looked good – and occasionally became pretty peppy, especially during the tropical sequences.
Blacks displayed nice depth and darkness, while shadows were decent; some low-light shots tended to look a little thick, but they were generally clear. I thought this was a more than competent transfer but nothing special.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it seemed dated but decent. The soundfield tended to emphasize music, as score and songs cropped up from the side and rear speakers.
Stereo presence was reasonably good, as the music spread around the room. Effects displayed less concise imaging, though this varied.
Some elements – like vehicles – moved around the room in a reasonably satisfying way, but other sequences bordered on monaural. Overall, the soundscape tended to open things up in a moderate manner.
Audio quality was fine for its age. Music tended to be a little boomy, but the score and songs displayed decent clarity.
Speech seemed natural and concise, and effects were fine. They didn’t boast great accuracy, but they showed fair range and definition. Given the track’s age, it seemed pretty positive.
How did the Blu-Ray compare with the original DVD? Audio was essentially a wash, but the visuals demonstrated growth. The Blu-ray came across as better defined and more vivid.
The Blu-ray duplicates most of the extras from the DVD, and we launch with two separate audio commentaries, the first of which features director Taylor Hackford and actors Jeff Bridges and James Woods. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, music, cast and performances, story and character areas, and related topics.
At times, Hackford tends to simply narrate the movie, but that ends up as a minor concern. Instead, most of the track moves at a nice pace, with a good mix of facts and charisma.
In particular, Woods adds humor – mainly via a running gag about Richard Widmark's love of hotcakes – and the three men combine well. Even with some slow spots, the commentary becomes a winner.
For the second chat, we hear from Taylor Hackford and screenwriter Eric Hughes. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the same subjects as the prior commentary – often literally.
And that becomes a flaw, as Hackford repeats an awful lot of the same notes and stories from the other track. We get some new information, but not as much as I’d like/expect. On its own, this becomes a solid chat, but after the other commentary, it seems redundant.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find seven Deleted Scenes. We get “Terry’s Redundant But Doesn’t Know It” (2:33 plus 1:20 intro from Hackford), “A Coyote Saves Terry at Riviera” (2:25), “Jake Gives Terry a Mexican Surprise” (5:28), “Jessie Obsesses in Chichen-Itza” (7:32), “Tommy Challenges Jake on Freeway” (1:10), “Terry Watches Jake Bed Jessie” (0:50) and “Terry and Jessie Play Rough” (1:47). The clips themselves are in kind of rough shape, but they're interesting and are more compelling than most excised segments.
The scenes can be viewed on their own or along with commentary from Hackford and Hughes. While I would have liked to know more about the reasons behind these scenes’ deletion, their remarks are useful.
Does the Blu-ray lose anything from the DVD? Yup. It axes two music videos, trailers for other movies, and talent files.
An attempt to update the film noir genre, Against All Odds works to a moderate degree, but that’s the best I can say. While it delivers decent entertainment, it never becomes anything memorable. The Blu-ray brings us weak visuals along with generally good supplements and audio. This becomes a decent release for a mediocre movie.