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Jawbone

6/10

Stars: Johnny Harris, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Michael Smiley, Anna Wilson-Hall

Director: Thomas Napper

Harris, a bald ex-boxer with a passing resemblance to Jason Statham, both wrote and stars in this OK-plus movie, as well as playing the leading role - of a bald ex-boxer who has fallen on hard times, not to mention an alcohol-fuelled gutter.

Evicted from the soon-to-be demolished South London flat where he's spent his entire life, having foolishly declined three offers of alternative accommodation, Jimmy McCabe (Harris) stumbles back to the Union St gym and his former mentors Bill (Winstone), who owns it, and Eddie (Smiley).

Distressed to hear that Bill is terminally ill, but desperate for money, Jimmy, once a teenage boxing champ, contacts a shady promoter (McShane at his most sharkish) and arranges to take on an unlicensed boxing match 'up north' where, for 2,500, he is practically guaranteed to get beaten half to death.

There are elements of Rocky here, but this is much more dingy and downbeat, with a well-choreographed boxing-ring battle at the heart of its latter half - and as lean and spare as the boxer himself.

Both Harris' performance and screenplay are perfectly competent, while Winstone gives an untypically restrained performance as the gruff-voiced but warm-hearted mentor to the young boys who keep off the streets by training at his gym.

David Quinlan

UK 2016. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour by Panalux.
91 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 08 May 2017