I hate puns when it comes to movie reviews but Goon really is Rocky meets hockey with a comedy edge. Sean William Scott stars as the dimwitted but totally lovable Doug Glatt, a bounce at a night club who one night at a hockey game gets into a fight with a player. Soon he’s recruited into the local minor team league and before he knows it he’s an enforcer. The movie has an incredibly fast pace as Doug shoots right up into the farms, the league below the NHL. Here Doug is tasked with protecting an underachieving young hockey start up named Xavier Laflamme. After getting a massive hit that took him out of the game for a while Laflamme has lost his edge, his courage and is now a coward out on the ice. It’s up to Doug to set Laflamme straight and protect him.
Written by Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder, Knocked Up) who also stars in the film as a side character and Evan Goldberg (The Green Hornet, Superbad) Goon has a lot of humor that comes from truly unique characters. While the character of Doug is clearly inspired by Rocky he’s not the same kind of character. Sean William Scott plays him as incredibly sincere and lovable. He’s a genuinely good person who happens to find that he’s good at doing this one thing, kicking ass on the ice. The jokes are great, they’re delivered incredibly well. There’s a moment where Doug is on a date with a fan, Eva played by the very funny Allison Pill (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) and tells her this story about an accident he had when hanging out with some friend and jumping bikes behind a medical waste dumpster. The story features gross elements but is told with such honesty and not played up for laughs that it pushes past the gross out factor and just becomes this really endearing and sweet story and you can read that in Allison’s performance.
With all sports movies it does come down to the actual sports at times and direct Michael Dowse (It’s All Gone Pete Tong, Take Me Home Tonight) films the games beautifully. The hockey is fast, fierce and when it gets down to the fighting it’s some of the best fighting put on film in years. Brutal hits, body blows, headbutts and blood punctuate the scenes. I expected comical fighting from the comedic tone of the beginning of the film, but when Doug headbutts a player in the stands and busts the player’s helmet apart I knew this was something different. Slow motion shots, the camera following the fist as it collides, cuts bursting open with blood spraying onto the ice are all features of the fights here. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s what you want to see in a brutal bout.
I love Goon. It’s on demand now for the price of admission, before it hits theater. I recommend having some friends over, getting a case of beer and enjoying this one of a kind sports movie.