Being Canadian, a vast number of us love what is largely considered to be our country’s game: hockey. Unfortunately, as far as sports movies involving the Great White North’s pastime, the pickings are pretty slim. Sure, there’s a bunch of football, baseball and even soccer films but hockey boils down to Miracle and, if you remember it, Mystery, Alaska and of those movies, when you ask around, the one at the top of that pile is Paul Newman and the Hanson brothers in Slapshot. Luckily for everyone, in 2012 Fubar director Michael Dowse directed a Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg written movie called Goon that stole that title with its crude charm, bone-crunching action and a lovable bruiser sweetheart named Doug Glatt. Three years later, Baruchel makes his behind camera debut with a follow-up, Goon: Last Of The Enforcers.
Doug “The Thug” (Seann William Scott), now a couple years into his hockey career, has been the enforcer taking care of his team, the Halifax Highlanders, being the muscle and drive they need. When a lockout loses down the big league, sports minded eyes turn to the minor league and Doug finds himself in a whole new spotlight after the Coach (Kim Coates) makes him the captain of the team. This is short lived as the most vicious player in the league, and coincidentally the Highlanders’ new owner’s son, Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell) gets into an altercation with Doug that injures his right shoulder and puts a stop to his career. With their muscle gone, the new owner (Callum Keith Rennie) signs his son to the team in the hopes of elevating them to a championship winning team but Anders ends up bullying the team and ruining the dynamic. This prompts Doug to enlist the help of his former rival Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) to get back on the ice, against the promises made to his pregnant wife (Alison Pill) to stay out of danger.
It’s safe to say that no momentum is lost between the two films, as Baruchel channels his love of the game, the characters and fun sports films into this well deserved sequel. Scott’s Doug Glatt is such a well-meaning and genuine sweetheart of a character that it’s easy to jump back into his story, like welcoming an old friend back. Luckily, Doug isn’t the only one we are happy to see, as the rest of the cast returns and the explicit banter between each character is so evenly spread with them many barbs and hilariously dialogue had me so ecstatic to return for another season in Halifax.
What is so great about Return OF The Enforcers is that it feels like a really natural follow up and nothing that gives it a tacked on money grab approach. The story is a necessary prgression that doesn’t try to rehash where it has been. Take the example of the villain, who in the first film is Rhea, an aging bruiser sent down to the minors to try and prove himself again. In this film, Cain is a dark individual with daddy issues and a violent chip on his shoulder. He is only looking to destroy everyone and everything in his path and it’s up to nice guy Doug to regain control over his team but, this time, without his fists. Goon: Last Of The Enforcers shows the further growth of a classic good guy and ends his story in a way that is more than satisfying, both in storytelling and as a rock em sock em hockey film. 5/5