Jawbone – The DVDfever Cinema Review


Jawbone tells the underdog tale of former child-star boxing champion Jimmy McCabe (Johnny Harris). His best years are long behind him, thanks heavy drinking and the fact that the council want to evict him from his flat, since the appartment block is being knocked down. He’s refusing because it once belonged to his mother; yes, he’s been offered alternative accommodation, but he can’t deal with that change.

We get early on that he’s head-strong, always assuming no-one has their best interests in him, when he talks to a security guard at the council offices, snapping, “Don’t stare at me like a gangster! Don’t go ‘gangster’ on me!”

However, he wants to get back in top again, starting with going back to train at his old gym, with a view to making a stack of cash from an unlicenced big fight, not worrying about how much he’ll gets hurt as he goes up against the local equivalent of Klitschko – set up by a suitably-menacing Ian McShane on top form in a neat cameo, but then he’s always good value.

However, if his old friend, and trainer Bill (Ray Winstone) find out, as well as if he goes back on the booze, he’ll be out on his ear.

Also on hand is the always-brilliant Michael Smiley (Ben Wheatley’s superb Free Fire, and another recent boxing drama, Orthodox, which also stars Stephen Graham) as Bill’s right-hand man, Eddie, who also won’t take any messing about, but also delivering an amusing moment during the youths’ running training when he tells then, “Get those knees up! Look like you’re running away from the cops!”

Johnny Harris and Michael Smiley

Jawbone is clearly Johnny Harris’ pet project and he makes it his own as the fighter who’s fallen on hard times and wants to get back to his best, but Ray Winstone, Michael Smiley and Ian McShane make for a heavyweight cast who also have their scenes in which to shine.

There’s a bizarre post-training moment for McCabe, around 40 minutes in, when he’s resting, bends forward, and you can see the heat radiating off his back. It looks strange, but very effective… as if it’s CGI but you know that it isn’t.

This film doesn’t have the most original story, but it’s well-acted and directed and is very believeable, and the boxing fight scenes smash those from Creed or most Rockys out of the ring with a knock-out.

Plus, Paul Weller provides the soundtrack.

Overall, Jawbone is not just hard-hitting IN the ring, but also out of it.

Jawbone is released in UK cinemas now, and is also available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release on June 22nd, and click on the poster for the full-size version.

Jawbone – Theatrical Trailer

Detailed specs:

Running time: 91 minutes
Studio: Vertigo Films Limited
Year: 2017
Format: 1.85:1
Released: May 12th 2017
Rating: 8/10

Director: Thomas Napper
Producers: Michael Elliott and Johnny Harris
Screenplay: Johnny Harris
Music: Paul Weller

Jimmy McCabe: Johnny Harris
William Carney: Ray Winstone
Eddie: Michael Smiley
Joe Padgett: Ian McShane
Damian: Luke JI Smith
Mary: Anna Wilson-Hall

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.


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