Review: Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017)

Sean William Scott returns to the ice in this sequel to the sports comedy Goon, which despite some good comedy moments doesn't hit as hard as the original.

Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is the ice hockey enforcer for Halifax Highlanders, known as Doug ‘The Thug’ Glatt, who seems unbeatable in a fight on the ice. But when a confrontation begins with a new rival enforcer Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), it is Doug who is left on the floor bleeding, with a serious injury to his arm, which looks to take him out of the game permanently.

With his wife Eva (Alison Pill), pregnant with their first child, Glatt decides he has no option but to turn to a new, less exciting career, working in a basement office as an insurance salesman. Adding insult to injury, Anders Cain is drafted into the team as captain to replace Doug, but through his uncontrollable temper, seems to pull the team apart.

Unfulfilled in his current role and concerned for his team, Doug turns to his former rival Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber). If he can learn to fight using his left hand, he can return to the game he loves and save the team.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers, is a sequel to the underdog sports film Goon. Although in this sequel there is very little ice hockey played on the ice, as most of the action centres on the bloody fight scenes, which are normally instigated by the team’s enforcers. If I was to compare it to another sports film, I would say it has more in common with boxing drama Rocky Balboa (2006) than its predecessor.

As with the first film Seann William Scott is good in the likeable role of the not so bright Doug, who carries on with the same kind hearted, but also hard knuckled personality. As with the first film, Scott’s character works best during the interactions with his former rival and now mentor Ross and his interactions with his wife Eva, but both characters are underused. The awkward relationship between Doug and Eva, was one of the highlights of the first film, with a natural chemistry between them. In the sequel, Eva is barely featured and despite having a baby this is just one of the many side stories which are never really utilised as part of the main plot.

In one of the few scenes that really worked, Doug returns home late after looking for Ross to train him. Unconvincingly he tells Eva that he had to attend a late sales conference. Still half-asleep Eva turns to him, “You smell of hotdogs”, to which he replies awkwardly “Thank you” whilst looking nervous and uncomfortable. It is a quirky moment which works between the two characters, which should have been used more in the film.

Schreiber has a more significant part this time and stands out once again as a beaten down, now retired enforcer. Like Doug, he can’t seem to give up the fight and now partakes in an underground brawl on the ice, which looks like an unlicensed boxing match for retired hockey players. The film would have benefited if he was used more in the film, as he always seems to steal the scene. He may be more subdued than a lot of the other characters, but he is still consistently entertaining.

Co-writer of both films and now director of the sequel Jay Baruchel returns as Pat. I found he had the right balance with his character in the original, but with the sequel his overly exaggerated behaviour in the sequel just wasn’t funny. Where he wanted the character to become cruder, it just came across as being obnoxious. I had a similar feeling about Elisha Cuthbert as Mary who felt misplaced in the role which didn’t come across as natural. It looked like they were having fun with the roles, but for me the comedy just didn’t work. It’s a shame because given the right roles, both Baruchel and Cuthbert can be extremely funny, as they have proven in the past.

Baruchel doesn’t do a bad job with his directorial debut, but Goon: Last of the Enforcers does not have the same chemistry which made the first film so good. There are some funny moments and fans of the original will still find it entertaining enough, with some references to the predecessor, but like so many sequels it just doesn’t offer the same impact or originality of what came before.

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