One of the under-the-rader successes of the last few years, at least in my eyes, was Goon: A feel good story about a limited-intelligence security guard who makes it good in the local hockey leagues as an enforcer, a goon, a fighter. A bit slow and actually a bit like a cuddly teddy bear off the ice, he is a thug/a brawler/a natural fighter on it. Surprisingly emotionally deep for a comedy it hit (pun intended) all the right notes with me.
After a six year break they are back with a sequel. Directed and written by Jay Baruchel, it tells the story of Doug and Eva, now married and with a baby on the way, after his retirement from the game due to an injury caused by another one of his scraps. However, Doug is not a natural in the outside world and he longs to get back on the ice, back to his adopted family of misfits and what he knows he does best: Winning fights. Alongside this we see the fate of some of the other enforcers as they soldier on after they have grown too old to play any more.
In taking a step away from the game itself, focusses more on the controlling ownership issues of the Halifax Highlanders, internal power-plays (another pun intended) and family struggles abound, making this film feel more bogged down, more weighty and less light-hearted than its predecessor. The laughs are weaker, the stupidity less frequent and in the characters the original cast are shrouded in nostalgia and the new ones are quite as stand-out. This film does have a more emotional message/tone but that doesn’t stop this being a bit of a poor relation to the original.
The action on the ice isn’t as charismatic as the first but it is more brutal, less played for laughs but more for shock purposes and this translates to the rest of the film, bringing that more sombre tone across everything. It ends up feeling more of a drama/comedy than the absurdity and laughs that were abundant in the previous film. Even saying this, if you enjoyed the first one, it is great to see Doug and the rest of his team back in action, a little bit older but none the wiser!