Review: Goon

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"It's just too bad those are your teammates you just f*cked up out there. Of course on the bright side, those are your teammates you just f*cked up out there."- Coach Rollie Hortense

PLOT: A dimwitted bouncer with a heart of gold (Scott) is asked to join a semi-professional hockey team to act as its enforcer. He can't skate, he can't pass, but he sure knows how to deliver a healthy beating! Doug Glatt becomes Doug the Thug!

REVIEW: Hockey fans don’t get their hockey movies frequently, but thankfully when they do surface, they’re pretty damn good often enough. SLAP SHOT, MIRACLE, MYSTERY ALASKA, THE ROCKET and now you can add GOON to that prestigious “shoots and scores” list. Although it stars American actors Seann William Scott and Liev Schreiber, make no mistake, this is "a Canadian movie" through and through with affection for our national sport oozing out of every frame. GOON was directed by Canadian Michael Dowse, and written by fellow Canucks Jay Baruchel (in his screenwriting debut) and Evan Goldberg of SUPERBAD. Now, in light of the recent drama in the NHL having to do with concussions and fighting in the sport, GOON might be deemed politically incorrect or even in poor taste...GOOD! I love a movie with a un-pc streak! Very refreshing to see when taking into account the “safe” times in which we live.

Based on the book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey (by Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith), GOON was a delight from beginning to end. The pace was effortless, the dialogue and sight gags hilarious and although it explored its narrative with tongue firmly planted in cheek, it still managed to address darker themes (drugs, adultery) while having some heart. Seann William Scott was incredibly endearing as the tough but child-like protagonist and the same goes for the love story which went from cute and touching to crass and played for laughs. Kudos to director Dowse for threading that fine line and never stumbling along the way. He got to have his puck and "wrist-shot" it too! But don’t get me wrong, GOON is much more than a nice guy and an awww romance. It was also a rousing underdog story that addressed the out with the old, in with the new motif.

Yup, I have to admit, the subplot involving Glatt’s veteran nemesis Ross the Boss Rhea (Liev Schreiber) really had me going. The two gents shared a gripping chemistry together, Schreiber had his Canuck accent down pat and the buildup to their eventual confrontation was highly engaging (was it me or did they nod at HEAT with that meet-up scene?). With that, the one thing that stood out the most here was the unrepentant and over the top violence. The fights in the film were beyond gored up for our viewing pleasure! I watch and play hockey on a regular basis and plasma has never been spilled to this extend. But this is a movie, meant to entertain and yes, I’m guilty of finding big dudes beating each other to a bloody pulp highly amusing. To say this was the most violent hockey movie would be easy, but I think it’s one of the most violent sports movies...period. So kudos for that!

Add to all that, en engaging soundtrack, a strong supporting cast (the vulgar Jay Baruchel, cocky Marc-André Grondin, the cutesy Alison Pill and a side splitting Kim Coates… all about his drunk speech), some inspired visual ploys (loved the skate POV shots) and a finale that will have you cheering and cringing at the same time, and you've got comedic gold! Any complaints? Just two. Being that the interaction between the teammates was so side-splitting, I would’ve appreciated more of it! Those two “sex joke”-abusing Russians and that dude who’s going through a divorce constantly had me in stitches! Finally, there wasn’t enough “actual" hockey playing for my taste. With more emphasis on the game, the fights would have meant so much more to me. Yup, those are minor complaints.

You like raunchy, vulgar and brutal comedies? You’ll be well served here! And if you’re a hockey fan…even better! The media has been saying that Goon is the new SLAPSHOT and to an extent...that is definitely true. But in my book, Goon is the first GOON: a one of kind hockey comedy/drama that takes no prisoners! See it!

Extra Tidbit: Ex-Montreal Canadians goon Georges Laraque has a cameo in the film.
Source: JoBlo.com



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