2018/04/13

Mediocre: The Glove

The Glove (1979)
Directed by Ross Hagen
Written by Ross Hagen, Hugh Smith, Julian Roffman
Produced by Julian Roffman, William B. Silberkleit
Starring John Saxon, Rosey Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Misty Bruce, Michael Pataki, Howard Honig, Jack Carter, Joan Blondell, Keenan Wynn
Lex talionis enforced by a beefy ex-convict and jazz guitarist (Grier) seems less tenable than venial when he endues a panoply of stolen riot gear to stalk and clobber prison guards with its barbarically powerful, discontinued gauntlet of a make to which they wrongly subjected him during his penal stint. His premium bounty attracts the interest of a bounty hunter and compulsive gambler (Saxon) desperate to discharge ample arrears, as child support so to maintain contact with his daughter (Bruce). Its fine and familiar leads cement this piffling crime drama: Saxon renders likable a deadbeat apprehending deadbeats, and his verbalization of a schmaltzy voice-over nearly sops its syrup; likewise, Grier confers to a character whose duplicity might seem otherwise ludicrous a believable righteousness. Cult B-actor Hagen handled these proceedings passably, but Robert Fitzgerald's execrable editing, a bathetic, brassy score by Robert Raglan as evocative of institutional televised fare as a cheesy rotation of successive dissolves, excursus that amount to naught (such as a quasi-romantic interlude with Cassidy's estate agent) and no few farcical fights specially (mis)directed by producer-screenwriter Roffman all accrue to conflux like bilge water though a flimsy hull. When Saxon isn't monologically dwelling on his pernicious habitude or his daughter's precious affection, he's engaging a bone-swinging, butcherly bond jumper or placating a contemptibly sleazy rival played a mile over the top by Pataki. Praiseworthy as a treatment of police brutality and bigotry that neither preaches to its audience nor presents its genuinely pitiable antagonist as a blameless magic negro, Hagen's pet project is withal too goofy to recommend or ignore.