On 6 January 2012, UK cinema was fawning over Meryl Streep and her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. On the same weekend, and to much less fanfare, a sports comedy based around hockey starring Sean William Scott was also released. Goon was a box office bomb but, on DVD, the story of a boy done good by punching people in the face (think Mighty Ducks with blood and swearing) became a cult favourite. Fast forward 5 years and Scott and the crew are back in one of the least expected sequels of 2017.
We pick up a few years down the line after the end of the first movie, as Doug ‘The Thug’ Glatt (Scott) is promoted to captain of the Halifax Highlanders. On the ice he meets his match in the form of Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), who almost ends Glatts’ career. Trying to find a life after hockey and to support his pregnant girlfriend Eva (Alison Pill), Doug takes an office job but with unfinished business on the ice rink, Doug turns to old rival Ross ‘The Boss’ Rhea to help him get one more shot at redemption for himself and his team.
This is a sequel carrying on the stories of the characters viewers grew to love in the first movie. Pretty much the entire cast returns again (the notable exception being Eugene Levy) and each naturally feels like this is where they would be in their lives, without sounding like a ridiculous premise. Carrying over from the heart and charm of the original movie, viewers will care about the characters as each has their own fleshed out personalities. That is also equally a drawback, as without seeing the first film, a lot of the warmth and context, especially for Glatt, will be lost. The new additions to the cast are also a mixed bag. Wyatt Russell is a good antagonist (although his motives can get a bit muddy in parts) but T.J Miller as a sports commentator is superfluous and sadly, in some parts, just plain forgettable.
For fans of the original, this is almost as perfect a sequel as it can be hoped for. It continues almost seamlessly from the end of the first movie, and the passion of writer Jay Baruchel (who tones back on his lovable but foul-mouthed Pat character in this film) is evident, which reflects in the cast performances who, even after 5 years, are all very much still on the same page for this production. Relatable characters, a funny yet touching script and a montage sequence Rocky would have been proud of, set to Stan Bush eighties rock classic ‘Dare’, are just a few of the highlights this film has to offer. Harking back to comedy sports movies of the past, this could be the Slap Shot or Happy Gilmore for today’s generation and that would be a deserved mantle indeed.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers is released on VOD and in selected cinemas across the UK on 8 September.