March 17, 2017 3:34 pm

‘Goon: Last of the Enforcers’ review: Taking one for the team

WATCH: 'Goon: Last of the Enforcers' trailer

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If you’ve seen the first Goon movie (from 2011), then you know what to expect from this sequel: it’s hockey, it’s fighting, it’s blood, it’s silliness.

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Many people, including now-director Jay Baruchel (he’s graduated from mere actor to helming this whole thing), call Goon the quintessential Canadian film franchise. After all, how much more Canadian can a movie be? Baruchel has even said that directing the film — on skates a lot of the time — was a dream come true.

In Goon: Last of the Enforcers, we’re back with the minor league Halifax Highlanders, who are receiving far more attention because the NHL is on some sort of strike. As with most hockey movies, there is a build-up and an eventual face-off against a rival team. You know the drill: a team of misfits bands together to stand up against a bullying foe.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers differs from the usual hockey film in that it’s also a nod to aging and being past one’s prime. Leading man Doug “The Thug” Glatt (played by Seann William Scott) is happily married to Eva (Allison Pill), and he’s knocked to the ice by a new, threatening player, which could end his career and perfect life… but of course, it doesn’t.

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How violent is this movie?

About as violent as the first. There are fistfights galore, and there’s even a subplot involving a league of retired players (read: “goons”) who gather at night to fight at the rink for money. The well-choreographed fights are bloody and graphic; if you’re not into that kind of thing, we humbly suggest you skip this movie. Oh, and if you’re not big on swearing, your ears will have burned off by the time you leave the theatre. The s- and f-bombs come a mile a minute.

Are there any treats for hockey fans?

While there’s about as much true hockey as in, say, The Mighty Ducks, several former hockey players (again, mostly “goons”) make cameos throughout the movie. It’s fun to see the film with a hockey buff, who will painstakingly point out all the guys who used to play in the NHL.

What about the non-hockey storyline?

Baruchel tries his best to deliver a meaningful side-story about growing older and making adult decisions, but it falls flat and causes the entire middle of the movie to sink. Still, Scott is charismatic, and his character Doug is so darn lovable that you won’t be able to muster up hate for Goon 2. After all, audiences aren’t flocking to a Goon movie to get lost in its dramatic flair.

(It was disappointing, however, to hear the rampant homophobic jokes. Some will argue that such is life in a sports locker room, but in 2017, we’re past the need to include that kind of humour.)

WATCH BELOW: Jay Baruchel on directing Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Wait, this sounds a lot like the original Goon.

Sports movies, by their very nature, are for the most part similar in terms of plot and story. So yes, in that sense, it’s basically a redux of Goon. You can only travel so far, storywise, with a numbskull who can’t really play hockey. The entire original cast is back, including Liev Schreiber as Ross (Doug’s inspiration and hero), and that partially adds to the film’s ho-hum familiarity. The only difference now is that they’re all grown up.

So, what’s the bottom line?

For people who know what to expect and still want to see it — again, blood, fighting, graphic dialogue — this’ll be right up your alley. There’s nothing cerebral going on in Goon: Last of the Enforcers, but that could be just what you’re looking for.

‘Goon: Last of the Enforcers’ is now playing in theatres.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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