Goon 2: Weak In The Script, But Still Enjoyable
Review by Anthony Cleveland
Doug "THE THUG" Glatt returns to theaters in Goon: Last of the Enforcers, which finally made its U.S. release. The film was released early this year in Canada to disappointing reviews from critics and fans of the original 2011 cult classic. However discouraging the reviews may've been, stateside fans still maintained their hype and hope for a fun sequel.
If you enter Goon: Last of the Enforcers with the knowledge from the Canadian reviews, you know you're not getting a high caliber sequel and that does help soften the letdown. There's enough here to keep most hockey enthusiasts and fans of the original engaged, but this will be an agonizing watch if you're not a sports movie person.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers begins with Glatt still playing for the Halifax Highlanders. The film opens in the locker room with Glatt receiving the honor of becoming the team's captain. Later in the game, Glatt comes face to face with a new adversary, Anders Cain, who is the new breed of 'tough guy' we see in the NHL today, guys who can both play the puck and throw down. Cain and Glatt drop the gloves, and Glatt receives an injury that forces him into retirement.
Glatt then picks up a sad office job, but eventually makes his way back to hockey by joining a league that only fights. The league is made up of retired and aging 'tough guys.' Think of pro WWF wrestlers that wrestle in VFW halls now. Here he meets his old rival, Ross 'THE BOSS" Rhea, who takes Glatt in and retrains him to fight through his injury.
Rhea's arc is one of the most interesting parts of the story. He takes on a Micky (Rocky) role and even joins Glatt on the ice in a Highlander jersey for the film's last game. His character has a great arc and Liev Schreiber puts a ton of heart into the role.
Glatt, on the other hand, seems more dumb and awkward than he did in the previous film. Maybe he's had too many shots to the head? Seann William Scott hangs in there and does his best with what's on the page. A saving grace here is the focus on his changes at home. In this sequel, Doug becomes a father and the film receives some heart that was lacking elsewhere as a result.
The majority of the issues with Goon: Last of the Enforcers lie in the script. The dialogue is weak and at times cringe inducing. The rapid fire edits seem to amplify these issues. Before you can even process if what you just saw was funny, the edit cuts to other action. There's not many moments where they just let the film breathe.
Goon 2 also falls into the comedy sequel pit of having too many callback jokes. Many of the jokes that hit seem more improvisational than scripted. There's a great scene where the coaching staff mocks the team owner for calling, "Next goal wins!" They go back and forth chirping him, "Next goal wins, what is this street hockey?" "I hope mom bought the good marshmallows for the cocoa." "Car!" At times, the improvisational moments seem too far out there (T.J. Miller's sportscaster for example) and should have be reeled back in bydirector, Jay Baruchel.
Baruchel boasted in early interviews that this sequel would be the best shot hockey movie ever. He's completely right. The on ice action is outstanding. There's a lot of low level wide shots that look like a GoPro was strapped on a puck. In other scenes the camera drifts over the cross bar seamlessly. These sequences are where the rapid fire editing is actually beneficial. The edits cut with every deke, dodge, and spinorama. Its beautiful to watch this sport captured like this.
Overall, I had fun with Goon 2, despite all the faults I listed. It was difficult getting over the half-hearted direct-to-video feel, but there was still enough good in this film to look past the negatives. The film is growing on me just as the first film did, and I know there will be one or two more rewatches before the puck drops at the beginning of this hockey season.
Rating: 3 glove drops outta 5.
What do you think? Did Goon 2 suffer from sequelitis? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!