UK Release Date: 2nd October 2017
Runtime: 97 minutes
Director: Jay Baruchel
Writer: Jay Baruchel, Jesse Chabot
Starring: Seann William Scott, Wyatt Russell, Alison Pill, Callum Keith Rennie, Liev Schreiber, Jay Baruchel, TJ Miller, Kim Coates
Synopsis: A brutal injury sustained during a fight on the ice forces Doug into retirement, forcing him to ponder a life without hockey – though his decision to avoid the sport doesn’t last very long.
I must confess I missed Goon when it briefly appeared in UK cinemas back in 2011. However, audiences really took to the tale of a kind-hearted hockey player, with a surprising gift for beating the crap out of his opponents. Despite the distinct lack of appetite for a sequel, Goon: Last of the Enforcers is now arriving on UK DVD after a brief journey through the multiplexes earlier this month. It’s a pretty dismal watch, with queasy locker room banter sitting awkwardly alongside violence that’s genuinely tough to stomach.
Doug (Seann William Scott) is handed the captaincy of the Halifax Highlanders in recognition of his willingness to leave everything out on the ice. In the first game of the season, Doug is horrifically beaten in a scrap with volatile young player Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), who is actually the son of Highlanders owner Hyrum Cain (Callum Keith Rennie). Doug’s wife Eva (Alison Pill) is pregnant, so he cannot be without a job and takes up a bizarre stock room job at an insurance company. However, with the help of former rival Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), he is determined to get back on the ice.
Having not seen the first Goon film, it was genuinely strange to be greeted with a film as utterly charmless and dislikeable as Last of the Enforcers. This is a movie populated by people defined only by how many F-words they spew and how many bloodied teeth they leave on the ice rink when their match is over. No one has any real character depth and they’re all so thoroughly unpleasant that it’s tough to care about what happens to them, whether they’re successes or failures.
Scott’s central performance is bizarre and seemingly off-kilter with the rest of the film, which is made up of aggressively unfunny dialogue that seems to only be about semen. Alison Pill is really short-changed as his girlfriend, whose viewpoint on her husband’s behaviour changes at random based solely on what the narrative requires rather than any logical development in her character. The weirdest performance, though, is that of Wyatt Russell, who is less a hockey player than a rabid animal communicating only with F-words and right hooks. Russell, so good in Everybody Wants Some!!!, is seriously in search of a decent role.
Whenever Goon: Last of the Enforcers runs out of jokes, it moves across to the ice. The actual hockey action in the film does a decent job of depicting the fast-paced, frenetic chaos of one of the fastest and most impressive sports on the planet. However, the puck is very quickly forgotten on a regular basis so that the big, Canadian men can knock seven bells out of each other. The violence is gory, visceral and entirely out of place in a movie that is broadly shooting for comedy.
Supporting actor Jay Baruchel, who is beyond awful when he makes brief appearances on screen, has made his directorial debut with Last of the Enforcers. His inexperience behind the camera shows with the bland staging of dialogue scenes, as if he’s anxious to simply fire through the crude one-liners so he can get back to shooting the fight scenes. It’s a film that has no idea of its own identity or raison d’etre and, ultimately, is a lot of swearing and fury signifying absolutely nothing.
An enormous quantity of B-roll stuff and interviews with the cast and crew, including Scott and Baruchel.
Pop or Poop?
Watching the Goon sequel, I was left utterly baffled as to why anyone could possibly be emotionally invested in this audience and these characters. The film is utter guff from start to finish, with awkward, blokey humour shoehorned in alongside violence that’s just horrible. If someone were to put this movie on a set of ice skates, it would definitely fall flat on its arse.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers is available on DVD in the UK from Monday, courtesy of Vertigo Releasing.