#REVIEW: “GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
In September 2011, I attended the world premiere of Goon at TIFF. The excitement was electric, the characters were beaten bloody, and a Canadian cult classic was born. Six years later, the long-awaited sequel Goon: Last of the Enforcers has finally arrived. But was it worth the wait, or is it another sequel delivered past its due date?
Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is having a hard time adjusting to life without hockey. After getting badly injured in a fight with new tough guy Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), Doug is forced into retirement earlier than he hoped. But with the Halifax Highlanders struggling after acquiring Anders as their new captain, Doug starts training with the hopes of hitting the ice again.
Goon fans can rest easy – Last of the Enforcers does its very best to bring back the spirit, fun and genuine emotion that made the first Film so wildly enjoyable. Nearly the entire cast returns and you can feel the palpable comradery between these characters. Jay Baruchel returns to co-write, produce and play Doug’s foul-mouthed buddy Pat, but also acts as this Film’s Director. He does well balancing each role, and even manages to improve on some of the original Film’s weaker elements. While the on-ice battles are just as brutal as before, Baruchel wisely dials back on the homophobic comments and amps-up the thrilling hockey scenes.
The story is what really sets Baruchel’s sequel apart – which is both blessing and curse. His screenplay, written alongside Jesse Chabot, adds depth to Doug, Xavier LaFlamme (Marc-André Grondin) and former rival Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) that was only hinted at previously. The characters are getting older and weaker, and the Film accurately addresses those themes. But it also spends too much time on a half-baked subplot between Anders and his Dad Hyrum (Callum Keith Rennie), and not enough time on Doug’s wife Eva (Alison Pill) and their future child. These subplots and a half dozen more keep the Film from truly flourishing, and few get properly resolved. I understand wanting to expand on the first Film, but it should not come at the expense of being unable to fully develop the supporting characters.
Scott is just as terrific as before, bringing genuine sweetness to the near-clueless Doug. His character’s newfound confidence makes his role that much stronger. Grondin and Schreiber both see large shifts in their characters’ dynamics, and handle them well – even if the Film has a bad habit of keeping them in the figurative penalty box. I really dug Russell’s work as the Film’s antagonist (often channeling his famous father Kurt), but the Film is unsure of how best to use him. Pill suffers the most from having very little to do, as does new cast member Elisha Cuthbert as her sister Mary. But I will admit, I simultaneously laughed and was mortified watching Cuthbert reunite and drunkenly flirt with Baruchel so long after Popular Mechanics for Kids.
And while the rest of the supporting cast has plenty of fun, the addition of T.J. Miller as sportscaster Chad Bailey is positively uproarious.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers has a lot of laughs and a surprising amount of depth despite its plot issues. Scott is just as great as before, and as a feature directorial debut, Baruchel has delivered a Film that can rightfully stand beside its predecessor. So lace up the skates this weekend and watch out. Doug the Thug is back.
eOne Films’ GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS hits the ice on Friday, March 17, 2017.