Goon: Last of the Enforcers

★ ★ ★

“Goon: Last of the Enforcers” is about as subtle as one of Doug the Thug’s brutal uppercuts to the jaw. A foul-mouthed celebration of hockey rink sluggers directed by Jay Baruchel, it paints the ice with so much blood it makes the raunchy classic “Slapshot” look positively Victorian in comparison.    

Six years since the original “Goon,” Seann William Scott returns as Doug Glatt, enforcer for the Halifax Highlanders. Imagine the love child of Tie Domi and Lloyd Christmas; a hockey bruiser with a heart of gold. The pro teams have been locked out and all eyes are on the Highlanders. As Captain and enforcer Doug is the team’s ticket to the playoffs until he comes out on the wrong end of an on-ice brawl with rival Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell). Beaten and bloody, Doug is forced into early retirement and Cain is recruited to take his place.

As Cain bashes heads on ice and off, Doug provides for his pregnant girlfriend Eva (Alison Pill) as an insurance salesman but as the season wears on Doug finds himself drawn back to the rink. “I don't think the insurance bug has truly laid its eggs inside me,” he says. At first he sneaks in ice time behind Eva’s back but when he finally comes clean she is cool with him returning to the ice as long as he doesn't fight. Question is, will it be possible for Doug lace up and hit the ice without raising his fists?
The final showdown between the two bruisers boils down to the simple fact that   Doug loves the game while Cain only loves to win.

“Goon: Last of the Enforcers” replaces the enforcer-as-gladiator subtext of the first film with easier to digest philosophical messages about loyalty, doing the right thing and how understanding your purpose and place makes for a happy life. That it splatters those messages with gallons of blood, jokes about autoerotic asphyxiation and, well, just about every bodily function known to man. It is rough and rowdy, like a scrappy booze-fuelled minor league game.

Scott brings his goofy charm to Doug, a sweetheart of a guy with an iron fist and a bum shoulder. He teammates are likeable misfits, each a little quirkier than the last. Locker room talk—some that would make the Hanson Brothers blush—abounds between them, but their real bond is a shared love of the game.

As Darth Vader on skates Wyatt Russell is welcome addition to the team. He gets the off kilter rhythm of the dialogue and is as villainous as Doug is soft-hearted.

At it’s dirty little heart “Goon: The Last of the Enforcers” is a sweet movie about love, Doug’s dual loves for Eva and the game.

3 STARS