The 2012 film “Goon” became a modest indie hit with its story of a bouncer who punches his way into a minor league hockey career.
Seann William Scott of “American PIe” fame played Doug Glatt, a natural when it comes to fisticuffs. Doug got called up to protect a high-scoring prospect who became gun-shy after an on-ice collision.
“Goon” may not have broken new ground, but it served its subject well as a firm representation of the sport. Scott played his character as a simple and straight-forward soul with a defined code. Scott’s Doug balanced the team and improved the locker room morale.
It delivered both an enjoyable sports story and a respectable hockey movie.
“Goon: Last of the Enforcers” reunites all the key players from the original, including Liev Schreiber as the aged hockey enforcer, and Kim Coates as the head coach. Jay Baruchel, who co-wrote the original and appeared as Doug’s crude hockey fan friend, returns as writer and also takes on directing duties.
The difference is notable. “The Last of the Enforcers” is a less-disciplined affair.
RELATED: HiT Rewind: ‘The Cutting Edge’
A strike and lockout in the sport’s top league means new players and a new focus on the minors. The owner of the Halifax Highlanders is former player Hyrum Cain (Callum Keith Rennie), and he intends on stocking his squad with higher talent to maximize publicity for a playoff run.
One player on a rival team is Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), Hyrum’s son. When he squares off with Doug during a game he cheap-shots our hero, knocking him out of the sport.
Reduced to a drone-like job with an insurance company, Doug learns his wife is pregnant. As he drifts at work he discovers his old rival Ross Rhea (Schreiber) now plays in a hockey fighting league. (Amusing to see former NHL enforcer George Parros as one of the battlers here.) Doug has an injured right arm, so he implores Rhea to teach him how to fight left handed with the hopes of returning to the ice.
FAST FACT: Seann William Scott’s first Hollywood audition call came for the syndicated smash “Baywatch.”
While there is much to compare with the quality of the original film “Enforcers” feels disjointed all the same. The film serves up several plot points but there’s little cohesiveness between them.
Baruchel does not direct the scenes so much as set them up, allowing his performers to roam and wander. The Cains represent villains in a way, but they are given far too much screen time. They would have been better served as a more distant, ominous threat. The lengthy scenes of their relationship dynamic never amount to anything.
Meanwhile, Doug spends far too much time off the ice, between his rehab and office work. When we finally see him on skates the sequences are sporadic, and missed.
Overall this is a lesser version of the original, which gave us deeper characterizations while delivering fan service to the sport.
The sequel uses hockey as more of the backdrop for the activities. Even the addition of T.J. Miller is off. He was brought in for separate scenes as a fill-in sportscaster, and his in-studio riffing fails to land.
This might be the perfect time to release “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.” The NHL preseason offers players of lesser talents the chance to roam the ice. “Last of the Enforcers” doesn’t exhibit all the quality and skill of a big league release.