Sports movies are a tricky thing because so often the climax of the story relies on one of two outcomes – win or lose. 2011’s Goon was able to skirt that cliché because it was more about the character of Doug Glatt, played by Sean William Scott and based upon Doug Smith, a bouncer-turned-hockey player who used his fists to earn a spot on a minor league hockey team. The film worked well as a sports comedy and stands as one of the better films made about hockey. Naturally, there was a bit of excitement for the sequel, Goon: Last of the Enforcers. Jay Baruchel, who co-wrote Goon with Evan Goldberg, now steps behind the camera to direct this comedic take on the world of hockey. However, Goon: Last of the Enforcers is a disappointing sequel, a movie where it seems that all of the wit was expended on the first film as it takes us an unnecessary trip around the ice.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers dives right into the action of a minor league hockey season, and excitement is ramped up because of a lockout in the highest echelons of professional hockey. The current status of the Halifax Highlanders is presented to us in a SportsCenter-like program hosted by a profane host (T.J. Miller). The Highlanders have just been purchased by Hyrum Cain (Callum Keith Rennie) and expectations are high for the team because of Glatt’s brutal presence and the reinvigorated star Xavier LaFlamme (Marc-André Grondin).
At the start of the season, though, Doug Glatt is brutally injured in a fight with Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), a ruthless player and son of Hyrum Cain. The injuries sustained force Doug out of hockey, and he then takes a job in the insurance industry in order to care for his wife Eva (Alison Pill) and the child they’re expecting. But Doug longs for the ice and the brutal violence that made him a star. At nights, he watches his old rival Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) take place in a kind of hockey fight club, where there’s no sport besides dropping gloves and exchanging blows. Soon Doug Glatt will fight his way back onto the ice and rejoin the Halifax Highlanders, even though his new rival Anders is now his teammate.
It doesn’t take you long to realize that the charm of Goon isn’t present in Last of the Enforcers. The level of humor provided by the introduction of T.J. Miller’s obscene sportscaster falls deadly flat. Then there’s the violence of the hockey itself, which plays out like a gorefest you might find in a B-level horror movie. The supporting characters that make up Doug’s teammates aren’t nearly as fleshed out as they were the first time around, leaving them a jumbled mess of practically anonymous eccentrics on skates. Even the manic energy of Kim Coates as the coach of the Highlanders feels diluted compared to the last time around. Compounding matters, Wyatt Russell’s Anders Cain is a woefully underdeveloped nemesis, driven by unknown factors that leave him as a bully without much purpose.
Sean William Scott is still reliable as the dopey Doug Glatt, a dimwit with fists of steel. The screenplay by Baruchel and Jesse Chabot leans so heavily on the domestic aspects of his relationship with Eva that Doug isn’t given chance to shine like he did before. Doug and Eva are forced to confront a different kind of life than they’re used to, with each focusing on responsibility over hard drinking and fighting. His antsy nature in retirement mirrors that of his former rival, Ross Rhea, but that, too, never gels into a fascinating character dynamic. Then, of course, the film devolves into the biggest of sports clichés with a conclusion that hinges on a win-lose situation with a noticeably predictable outcome.
It’s difficult to recapture the charms of a movie like Goon, but this sequel can’t even muster up a fraction of what the first film so remarkable. Goon: Last of the Enforcers is an uninspired, forgettable sequel. All of the blood from this would-be franchise was left on the ice last time, and each successive punch lands with less and less of an impact.