I still haven’t seen the first Goon but I don’t think it mattered that much going into this. For a hockey film, it got the hockey right despite all the gratuitous, off-putting violence. In terms of the story, it wasn’t particularly original or funny and the acting wasn’t that great either but it wasn’t necessarily the actors’ fault as the writing and direction didn’t do them any favors. (original review)
Synopsis: It’s a new day for the Halifax Highlanders. A pro lockout has reunited old teammates and brought a crew of new players to the bench; notably missing from the line-up, however, is everyone’s favourite enforcer and heart of the team, Doug “The Thug” Glatt. Sidelined after one too many hits and now married with a baby on the way, Doug is hanging up his skates and settling into life as an insurance salesman. But when
Doug’s nemesis, Anders Cain, is made captain of the Highlanders and new ownership threatens to tear his team apart, Doug is compelled back into action. (eOne Films)
Starring: Seann William Scott, Alison Pill, and Marc-André Grondin
Writers: Jay Baruchel and Jesse Chabot
Director: Jay Baruchel
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 101mins
As long as there have been films, there have been redemption stories and this was no different. Whether they succeed or fail depends solely on the relatability of the main character. This time Doug Glatt (Scott), a hockey player for the Halifax Highlanders, now faces a life on the sidelines after a career-threatening injury. With this injury and a baby with his wife Eva (Pill) on the way, he tries to make a serious life for himself as an insurance salesman but it never seemed to catch on.
The spark within Glatt was always there and all he ever wanted to be was a Highlander. Glatt was getting older and has absorbed his fair share of abuse over his career which worried Eva since she did not want to see him get hurt again. Things got more complicated for him when his rival and the person responsible for his injury, Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), was named captain of the Highlanders. Glatt broke his right arm so he had to learn to fight with his left. Luckily, his old rival Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) was there to teach him the ropes.
The main problem with the film was how boring Glatt was as a character. He was way too subdued and lacked any emotion whatsoever which made it difficult to connect with him on an emotional level. Along with the story not being overly original, this made the film’s dramatic moments not as compelling to watch. His personality tended to bog scenes down. The film offered another subplot between Cain and his father and owner of the Highlanders, Hyrum (Callum Keith Rennie), but their relationship was underdeveloped and forced because it was more of a means to an end.
To try and break things up, the film had some comedic moments which were usually on the crass or raunchy side. Most of these came from the teammates fooling around with one another but the problem with that was that none of it was funny. It all felt gratuitous and just done for the sake of doing it. They were trying so hard to be funny but it just didn’t work.
The best part of the film were the hockey scenes. They were very well shot and were exciting to watch. They were better than watching real hockey games in that they better captured all the action. It wasn’t exactly the NHL kind of hockey so it was a little different. There weren’t nearly enough of them, however, as the focus was maybe less on the hockey and more on Glatt (I’m not sure since I haven’t seen the first film). Since it was a hockey film, there were some fights but was so off-putting about them was the amount of gratuitous violence involved.
The acting was okay but it wasn’t necessarily their fault due to the mediocre script. The dialog and the direction weren’t the greatest, resulting in performances on both ends of the spectrum from wooden by Scott, indifferent by Pill, and over the top by Russell. Other supporting character were just there to spew unfunny lines with the worst being T.J. Miller as one of the sportscasters saying random things. The best of those characters were Grondin and Schreiber. They didn’t spew unfunny lines but they had great chemistry with Scott and were fun to watch together.
Overall, this was an unoriginal, unfunny, mediocre, but well shot sports film brought down by a mediocre script and direction.