“Goon” isn’t about much more than what its title says. It follows a goon who gets picked up by a hockey team because he can hit people really well. The film isn’t about our hero discovering himself, becoming a better hockey player, winning acceptance from his parents or any of that nonsense. It’s just about a guy who’s good at hitting people and getting hit.
“Goon” stars Seann William Scott as Doug Glatt, a man overshadowed by his gay, successful brother and his charismatic best friend. One night, Glatt and his friend (Jay Baruchel, who’s also a co-writer) attend a hockey game and are attacked by a player who Glatt’s friend is heckling. Glatt knocks the man on his ass and has the whole crowd starts cheering his name. The next day he is offered a job to play hockey officially. His only job is to protect his team, take a hit when he’s told to take a hit and hit whoever he’s told to hit.
There’s not much more to the film than that. Liev Schreiber shows up as a fellow rival goon and there’s a love interest thrown in for no other reason than the fact that the film needs a love interest. The only interest the makers of “Goon” have is getting its cast and crew on the ice where they can mystify with shots of blood splattering over glass, teeth banging against the ice and bones crushing against each other. There’s a strange poetry to it all. You see, the film isn’t so much a love letter to hockey as it is a love letter to the violence that goes hand in hand with the game.
The film flourishes every time director Michael Dowse and his crew begin showing Glatt fighting on the ice and getting his face beat – and beat. By the end of the movie he is almost unrecognizable. These scenes are not only extremely violent, but uproarious. The way Glatt literally throws himself in the middle of danger for his team is unapologetic and hilarious. Scott, best known as Stifler in the “American Pie” franchise, is a master at roles like this.
The film has some other great laughs as well. The supporting cast surrounding Scott is pretty funny. Baruchel and the members of Glatt’s hockey team have some great lines that actually inspire real laughs which is very uncommon in movies these days.
The rest of the film feels flat. The love subplot doesn’t work at all. We see a girl walk into a bar and later in the film they’re both really into each other. That’s just poor film making.
Actors like Schreiber do their best, but when the film is not showing faces being beaten to a pulp and pucks being hit, the direction is very hands off. You can feel the script attempting to rush to the next game and the next bloody fight.
Faults in mind, “Goon” is still very funny. It’s worth a watch at home if you’re just looking to kick back and knock back a few. The script comes packed with laughs and director Dowse proves he can make you fall on the floor laughing at some of the most outrageous acts of violence or foul mouthed banter.
The other great thing about “Goon” that Big Hollywood readers will be glad to hear is this: there are no sucker punches! This is more surprising when you consider that the film takes our yank of a hero and sticks him in Canada. One would expect jokes about Bush, the Tea Party, universal health care, but nothing surfaces. The film is more interested in making us laugh than getting political.
But be warned, dear readers. “Goon” means it when it says it’s rated “R.” The kiddies should probably stick to “Mighty Ducks” in the other room while you laugh your ass off at funny Canadian accents, pucks knocking teeth out and all that jazz.
“Goon” is not your typical sports film. You won’t see Kurt Russell giving an inspiring speech or a character trying to be something he’s not. “Goon” is about a man finding his place in the world and being good at it. Glatt is a goon, plain and simple. The film is unforgiving about this fact all the way until the unforgettable, final bloody shot.
Sucker Punches: None.
“Goon” is available now via select Video on Demand services and will be released theatrically March 30.