‘Against All Odds’ Has One of the Best Movie Car Chases of the 1980s

The plot might not be car-intensive, but it still pulls off a great chase scene.

Against All Odds is a film that doesn’t focus much on car culture, nor does it give a hearty nod towards it. But it still somehow pulled off having one of the best-filmed car chases of the ’80s between its reels.

The film is a romantic neo-noir set in Los Angeles in the early ’80s, starring Jeff Bridges and James Woods. Its plot is very noir (meaning, complicated) and is the epitome of 1980s SoCal. At least, how it’s often portrayed in movies. Shady dealings, kerfluffles between rich people, forbidden romance, but most importantly: a decent assortment of rad-era automotive gold.

The big chase scene itself is great: Open-top hooliganry between a black Ferrari 308 QV GTSi and a red Porsche 911 SC Cabrio. It’s not even a chase; it’s actually more of a rich peoples’ ego-driven romp. Like if Brett Easton Ellis were asked to write a quick Ferrari vs. Porsche screenplay. I’m also surprised the SC was able to keep up, but hey, that’s movie magic. Still, it’s great to watch.

Watching Woods and Bridges swerve around on Sunset Boulevard through Beverly Hills and Los Angeles makes for great entertainment, and it’s really shot quite well. A bunch of different camera angles that make it a gripping little scene, and even showcase some quintessential-’80s body roll. The soundtrack could be better; I would’ve preferred a louder air-cooled flat-six note, but otherwise, it’s not bad. Some people in the YouTube comments complain that the Ferrari sounds more like a Lambo, too.

Inherently Good Car Spotting

Since it’s quintessentially ’80s LA, there’s car-spotting galore. Playing a game of take a shot every time you see a mid-to-late-’70s Ford or Chevy would surely result in a visit to the emergency room. The malaise-mid-’70s fare includes a Mustang II – you know, the ‘Stang that causes everyone, including Ford, to drink to forget. But there’s also a BMW 6 Series, the two starring cars themselves, a ’70s XJ6, VW Thing, a smattering of Firebirds, and more. Pretty cool!

For fellow cinephiles out there, there’s also great, general film spotting in it, too. I’m almost certain some of the tarmac they cover is also covered by William Holden in Billy Wilder’s classic noir film Sunset Blvd. Also, at the end of the scene there’s a clear view of Century City’s Century Plaza Towers, which are in the background of a bunch of films. Including Die Hard. I haven’t yet watched Against All Odds all the way through, but there’s gotta be a lot more locations ripe for the spottin’. The cast is decent, too. It’s cool to see a way-pre-Big Lebowski Jeff Bridges.

Check out the full chase below, and it looks like the whole film’s available to rent on YouTube.

Peter Nelson

Peter NelsonPeter Nelson has been wrenching on and playing with cars since he started driving them quickly between the cones at Chicagoland autocross events in his late teens. Nowadays, he can be found wringing out his Mazda2 at tracks all over California. His writing background includes Winding Road, Donut Media, and Autolist.com. He's also an avid cyclist and '80s/'90s action film connoisseur. Contact the author here.