Based on the real life story of AHL Moncton Hawks ice brawler, Doug “The Hammer” Smith, comes Michael Dowse’s new movie Goon. The films brings us into the black and blue world of the professional hockey enforcer. Loved by die hards, hated by commissioners, and forgotten by the rest, the enforcer hasn’t always played the most crucial role in the game, but it has undeniably been a contributing factor to the success of almost every team.
Early into the film we’re introduced to Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott), a simpleminded Massachusetts dive bar bouncer with a puddle for a brain and a brick for a fist. His father (Eugene Levy) and brother are both doctors who continuously question his current career choices. His best friend Ryan (Jay Barchel) hosts his own local access hockey program. Everyone around him seems to have found their niche in life and Doug continues to struggle to find out exactly what it is he was meant to do. That’s until Ryan decides to take him to one of the local town hockey club games. After one of the hometown players rushes the stands towards Ryan for his relentless heckling, Doug stands up in defense, and puts a beating on him worse than Bobby ever did Whitney. The fight brings Doug to the attention of the local hockey coaches and eventually leads him on to the Halifax semi-professional “farm team”. While he struggles to skate but continues to break noses, Doug believes he has finally found his niche in playing hockey, at least until his coach Ronnie (Kim Coates) reminds him that “you’re not here to play hockey! You’re here to fight!”
The story line seems just as simple and dimwitted as it’s main character, and the series of events could be predicted by anyone just as clueless as Toronto GM Brian Burke. The writing is effortlessly boring and the film basically flat lines somewhere around the thirty minute mark. Sean William Scott does a great job of playing a quirky and seemingly autistic love child that only could have been birthed from a caveman and Forrest Gump. The movie lacks the emotional connection that is needed to keep a common audience invested. However, this kind of opinion is only directed toward those who haven’t watched anything more than the NHL playoffs for the past 5 years.
For the rest of us who continue to re-enforce the foundation of North American hockey, this movie brings to light one of the most important and entertaining parts of the game - the blood. It’s a story about a sports sub-culture that is continuously ridiculed and disregarded. Goon is a sports story that has gone untouched until now. Ultimately this film should be considered a bio-piece to those who have given up their blood and teeth for the sport. The same way Paul Newman brought pride to the minor league teams of America in Slapshot, Sean William Scott brings pride to any player who’s willingly spilled blood on the ice to any team they have had the privilege to call home.