TheGloveSeventies-sploitation with a promising premise—an ex con with a grudge lets loose with a super-glove—but extremely boring execution.

THE GLOVE, from 1979, has amassed a minor cult following (Quentin Tarantino is reportedly a fan), and has since been renamed LETHAL TERMINATOR.  By exploitation movie standards its cast is impressive: longtime B-movie legend John Saxon headlines, alongside ex-NFL star Roosevelt—or Rosey—Grier, Joanna Cassidy (best known as BLADE RUNNER’S Zhora) and the late Aldo Ray, another trash movie mainstay.  The director Ross Hagen was himself a veteran actor when he made this movie, his directorial debut.  Future films helmed by Hagen include B.O.R.N. and CLICK: THE CALENDAR GIRL KILLER.

Sam is an ex-cop and current bounty hunter.  He’s currently drowning in alimony, and so agrees to take on a difficult job for $20 grand: track down an ex-con named Victor, a 250-pound black guy who was used as a guinea pig for an experimental riot control glove.  Said glove is a bulky contraption, consisting of five pounds of lead and steel that can punch through walls and break bones.  Since leaving prison the unjustly incarcerated Victor has gotten a hold of the glove, and is now bent on taking out the asshole prison guards who knocked him around.

Sam gradually tracks Victor down.  Victor phones Sam, claiming “I have no business with you, leave me alone!”  But Sam persists, and eventually confronts Victor atop the roof of his inner city tenement.  The match, as you might guess, is far from equal!

Although categorized as an “action adventure” picture, THE GLOVE is shockingly inert.  There’s surprisingly little action and violence, with the title contraption used quite sparingly.  Director Ross Hagen lavishes an unaccountable amount of time on a mid-film gambling interlude, and even more on a boring romance the protagonist John Saxon carries on with the attractive but extremely bland Joanna Cassidy.  There’s also Saxon’s laughably hard-boiled narration, which almost sounds like a parody of the form.  It’s as if Hagen was attempting an actual good movie—or just trying to obscure the fact that the script is hopelessly thin.

Either way, the film is at its best with pure action sequences.  While not exactly award-worthy, the fight scenes in THE GLOVE are painful and energetic.  There should really be more of them!

Vital Statistics 

Tommy J. Productions

Director: Ross Hagen
Producer: Julian Roffman
Screenplay: Hubert Smith, Julian Roffman
Cinematography: Gary Graver
Editing: Robert Fitzgerald
Cast: John Saxon, Rosey Grier, Joan Blondell, Joanna Cassidy, Jack Carter, Aldo Ray, Keenan Wynn, Howard Honig