REVIEWS: Docs / Other films — April 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm

REVIEW: Goon (2011)

Doug Glatt (Sean Patrick Scott) is an uneducated muscleman who works as a bouncer in a night club. He’s been labeled an outcast by his brainy family, and he’s got a seemingly bleak future ahead of him.

That is, until one day, he and his friend (Jay Baruchel) attend a semi-pro hockey league match, and a brawl on the ice breaks down.

When one of the hockey players decides to express all his anger on Doug’s friend, Doug steps in and literally punches the player out with his fists. That’s where his life takes a new road.

The next day, he’s invited to play in this semi-pro hockey league as a “goon”, a player who usually not that great at hockey, however he’s on the ice to deter and respond to dirty or violent play by the opposition.

The film has a great, believable cast in my opinion.* Eugene Levy plays Doug’s dad (both Levy and Sean Patrick Scott have starred together in “American Pie” series”).

* Kim Coates is surprisingly good as Doug’s coach, one of the very few positive roles that I remember him play. Nicholas Campbell (Davinci’s Inquest) plays another hockey coach.

* Marc-Andre Grondin did a great job as hockey player Xavier Laflamme, If I didn’t know I’d think he was a real-life player.

* Jay Baruchel is annoying as hell, but come on, not every film can have 100 percent of character likeability.

When such play occurs, the goon (or enforcer) is expected to respond aggressively, by fighting or checking the offender. Enforcers are expected to react particularly harshly to violence against star players or goalies. Doug could barely skate, but his unmatched fighting skills and stamina earn him a place on the team.

The story of “Goon” develops further, as Doug gets to feel all the ups and downs of being a member of a team of misfits, he falls in love, and ultimately faces his biggest challenge – a one-on-one ice fight with another “goon”, an experienced and soon-to-retire enforcer Ross Rhea (Liev Shrieber).

Now, before the film stars, we’re informed that this was based on a real story (the book “Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey” by Doug Smith and Adam Frattasio) of Doug Smith, a hockey player, who in the film is portrayed by Sean Patrick Scott.

I’ll say upfront that I don’t know anything about hockey, so I will only express my views on the film itself.

One thing I can say for sure – the film’s fights (and there are plenty) are more brutal than some of those in martial arts movies.

Fights in “Goon” are shot up-close, with all the gory details, and the sounds are an absolute viagra for your ears!

The film cannot be classified as a sports drama, since it doesn’t really concentrate on hockey as a sport.

It circles around one specific, “unofficial” aspect of hockey, so even if you’re not a hockey fan like me, you can still enjoy the film.

I’ve always though of Sean Patrick Scott as “Stifler, and some guy who constantly gets his ass kicked by the Rock in the Rundown”, but “Goon” is definitely a step up for Scott, as he fits into Doug Glatt’s shoes (or uniform…) perfectly. Storyline between Doug and his new love interest Eva (Alison Pill) is emotional and really makes you care for the two.

“Goon” well deserves its “R” rating, as its full of bad language, drug references, brutal fights and amusing scenes. To sum it all up – this is great entertainment with great cast, and a good story.

After watching this film, I’ll take hockey (which I never played) over soccer (which I never really liked) any way. Recommended, even if you didn’t read the book the film was based on.



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