Down on his luck boxer and gym owner Doug (Brad Moore), is facing foreclosure of his spiritual and literal home by some greedy nose toffs who have bought off the debt off the building and threaten to turn the building into a gentrified franchise gym. The promise of salvation comes in the unlikeliest of corners. A windfall of cash awaits anyone who can beat a gypsy giant in a bare-knuckle fight. Doug must train a gentle giant to defeat the undefeated brute to buy back his beloved gym.
Gloves Off appears to be a passion project between writer director Steven Nesbit and lead actor Brad Moore, who somehow managed to wrangle a few decent and adored British names in the likes of Ricky Tomlinson, Paul Barber, Denise Van Outen and godfather of alternative comedy, Alexei Sayle. A low budget British ‘comedy’ that aims to punch above it’s weight but in reality it is as enjoyable as watching yourself piss blood on porcelain. The script and directing are on par with a first year film student who paid no attention to any critical construction. The acting is so over the top from the majority of the cast it’s as though most of them have voluntary committed career suicide. Whether the creative team were consciously going for slapstick, Gloves Off feels like a CBBC programme with some naughty words thrown in. Thematically it tries to make a case of rich vs. the poor and gentrification bulldozing over the livelihoods of working class culture, but you’d be more likely to find intellectual discourse in a colouring in book than here. If there is a cliché they can aim for, Moore and Nesbit will take a pop at it, posh boys in suits, skin heads or gypsys, they’re all delivered in the worst caricature form, almost so it presents Doug as a lovable anti-hero, whose only flaw is that he is too good natured.
The plot is equally flimsy as the acting. The very green Donny (Laurie Kynaston) turns up to the gym, (because it’s in his family to be a boxer), he is merely a stepping stone to his hot single mum (Denise Van Outen) who has a handicapped giant of a brother called Nosher (Greg Orvis) who could fight in the bare knuckle fight against Big Bill Brady. It’s so bumpy and by the time the film gets to Nosher, he is more a plot device than an actual character, as are most of the characters in fact. Whilst the film tries to be light-hearted, the cliched aspersions a lot of the characters are built upon are borderline offensive. It’s not aiming to be politically incorrect, but there is no caution thrown to the wind in belittling Irish Travellers and the mentally handicapped; it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
Back in the day this would be finding itself in the bargain bucket in Woolworths, now it is making it’s way to VOD and frankly it’s not worth even worth sticking around for round one. This is a glorified vanity project for Nesbit and Moore too occupied how they present themselves than delivering a film to an audience that would be worth their time. One star for the cinematography.