Goon: Last of the Enforcers arrives five years after the surprise hit Goon, and it’s as if the audience never left these characters. Even though the film is working under a different director (Jay Baruchel taking over for Michael Dowse), this sequel makes sure it stays within the same surly vein as its delightfully crude predecessor.
A sequel is a double-edged sword: offer the audience what they expect and the filmmaker is chastised for playing it safe, offer the audience something new and the filmmaker risks driving the original fans away. I suppose Baruchel plays it safe by sequel standards by having Goon: Last of the Enforcers fit into the former, but a key choice to waver away from a traditional sports narrative is enough to develop a new identity for this continuation.
The script (written by Baruchel and Jesse Chabot) is more of a character-driven story than an underdog journey, allowing the film’s leading dopey hockey player Doug (Seann William Scott) to naturally figure out his personal purpose in life after his rival Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell) beats him to a bloody pulp. After the career-ending injury, Doug accepts a new chapter in his life as he anticipates his newborn baby with girlfriend Eva (Alison Pill). Despite how two-dimensional Eva is and how bafflingly naive Doug can be, the couple have genuine chats about life and their relationship. These talks may be brief, but they make a huge difference in this embellished city of Halifax, and before Doug scratches his hockey-playing itch.
Most of Goon: Last of the Enforcers is engulfed in “rock ‘em sock ‘em” sport contact – another key choice by Baruchel who has found self-proclaimed art during these in-game brawls. The first Goon used violence intermittently, but the tables have turned. The onslaught of combat is intentionally over-the-top, but the audience is never immune to it – we’re still shocked when we see the blood-stained ice and deformed faces. This is because the audience becomes so invested in the conflict between Doug and Anders, as well as the co-operation between teammates – a feat shared by the filmmakers and the convincing cast.
Fans of this series are going to sincerely enjoy Goon: Last of the Enforcers.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie