Goon

15 Sep

 

Director: Michael Dowse

Writers: Jay Baruchel (screenplay), Evan Goldberg (screenplay)

Stars: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel and Alison Pill

Motion Picture Rating: 15

Runtime: 92 minutes

 

Goon maybe based on a true story (the career of Doug Smith), but it’s hardly original and I am sure that it could apply to any number of lower league ice hockey players in the 1970’s and early ‘80’s. During that period the joke about going to a fight and seeing a hockey game break out was made frequently. Hockey bore similarities to today’s UFC type entertainment and each team had at least one ‘enforcer’ who’s skills lay firmly in punching other players’ lights out as opposed to skating. In homage Paul Newman starred in the 1977 comedy Slap Shot about how a losing ice hockey team changes fortunes and finds success in constant fighting.

This film follows two ice hockey enforcers, one on his way out of the game and the other just coming in. Seann William Scott (as Doug ‘the thug’ Glatt) is the young gun whilst Liev Schreiber (as Ross Rhea) is the retiring warhorse. Doug’s journey from a barroom bouncer to second division ice hockey ‘player’ is the backbone of Goon as his over balanced brawn to brain ratio finally starts to pay dividends. Doug is a warrior and very much a team player. He is naïve and a gentleman as shown by his sheepish pursuit of local Halifax girl Eva (nicely played by Alison Pill). He has a lot to learn and gets an education of sorts from Ross Rhea who describes their shared skills as akin to being a front-line soldier feted only whilst capable of taking down enemies.

The parallel stories of Doug and Ross intersect as their hockey teams’ seasons play out, but it’s clear that both will face off and go mano-a-mano at the end. This is a highly macho film. The many fight scenes are brutal, the swearing is near incessant when Doug’s juvenile friend Pat (Jay Baruchel, one of the writers) is on the screen and there are plenty of borderline offensive gay jokes. This is definitely a film for the lads, but it’s a pity that it is lazily one-dimensional as Scott plays nice but dim endearingly well and Schreiber is very good. This is OK entertainment, but it made me nostalgic for the original and better film Slap Shot.

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