Let's just forget this ever happened, shall we?
Those are my immediate thoughts on "Goon: Last of the Enforcers," a regretfully disappointing sequel to the cult classic that came out of nowhere in 2011.
When I first met Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) and Ross "The Boss" Rhea (Liev Schreiber) in the original, "Goon" was an absolute delight. A proud B-movie with heart, humor, and over the top hockey fights for this enforcer junkie. When I was asked what my favorite hockey film was last year, the answer was "Goon." I laughed so hard in scenes while also respecting the portrayal of the grind of minor league hockey.
Schreiber stole the show as at the old lion enforcer who saw his throne as the best threatened by Scott's dim-witted yet sweet natured young tough guy. Talk about a film leaning into its smug corner of the movie universe.
"Goon 2" is the opposite: a phoned-in and not-very-funny return to characters that didn't require a fresh coat of paint. "Last of the Enforcers" doesn't do anything new, ups the ante on the gag jokes, and tosses an extra coat of lava flavored sentimentality on top of this dry cake.
The story picks back up with Glatt being awarded the captain patch of the Halifax Highlanders and immediately getting knocked out of the game by the young and troubled Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell, who played hockey in real life but is woefully bad in this film). Doug's girlfriend, Eva (Alison Pill), is pregnant and against his fighting ways now that domesticated living sits on the horizon. The obligatory "shall he hang them up" question is proposed and answered predictably. Also, Schreiber's Rhea is hanging onto his own career and is suddenly training Doug like a long, lost friend. There's Anders' father who wanted a winning team and a productive son.
It all screams bland and unworthy of exploration. Cain and his father have an oddly erotic tension between them and Jay Baruchel (who also wrote and directed the film) returns as the most annoying and disgusting best friend ever. Be prepared to check your watch a few too many times as this near two-hour movie drags along long enough for Doug to get his chance to make things right.
What went wrong? Baruchel bit off more than he could chew here, taking on sole writing credit and directing duties. He's just not that good and it shows in the film's narrative structure. Gone are the talented duo of Evan Goldberg and Michael Dowse. They knew how to create comedy without grossing everybody out and putting them to sleep. "Goon" was a smooth 92 minutes and didn't feel a minute over. This new entry feels like something a 15-year-old would dream up. It's just not good. You'll laugh for the wrong reasons.
The real culprit here is freshness. The first film was wild and overzealous yet felt like something you hadn't seen before, which made it easy to embrace and love. "Last of the Enforcers" feels forced and drained of originality. There's nothing new here and the characters aren't as interesting.
You know when a movie is bad? When the outtakes at the end are better than the film itself.
Scott, Schreiber, and Pill all turn in performances that seem like employees waiting to cash their checks at the bank. Nothing is inspired or fiery. Russell does a bad imitation of Schreiber's Rhea from the first film. It looks like Kurt didn't teach his son much about the craft.
The original story was based on the real-life minor league enforcer, Doug Smith's book, which was also named "Goon." Smith gets a cameo in the sequel and acquits himself well. A better idea would have been making a documentary about Smith's life as an older enforcer, away from the game and introducing some hints of comedy. Be ambitious or stay home.
"Goon: Last of the Enforcers" is a classic reason why many movie fans hate sequels: it presents nothing new while draining all of the fun out of what made the original so great.
Let's forget it ever happened. Watch "Ice Guardians" instead.
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