Doug (Brad Moore), champion boxer turned reluctant businessman, is down on his luck. Suffering from loneliness and crippling debt, both he and his boxing club are in need of rescuing.
Doug’s ragtag bunch of mates come to his rescue, fending off loan sharks and bare knuckle boxers, but the excellent cast cannot save the bloated and predictable script. Familiar faces from celebrated comedies, Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family), Alexi Sayle (The Young Ones), Paul Barber (Only Fools & Horses) grimace and gurn their way through this David & Goliath flick. Most of the scenes feel like they are built for a stage play – each person waiting for their line.
Boxing and cinema have maintained a close relationship since the early days of film, with countless directors unable to resist the spectacle within a spectacle. Eastwood, Ford, Scorsese, Huston, Poitier, the list goes on. Sadly, there is nothing spectacular about Gloves Off. It is striking that while American television productions have become more cinematic, so many British films are unable to shed this awkward soap-opera atmosphere.
Aiming to be a slightly more family-friendly Snatch (2000), Gloves Off lurches about and never quite hits the mark.
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