I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Features Editor
GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS
Rated R, 101 minutes.
Director: Jay Baruchel
Cast: Seann William Scott, Alison Pill, Marc-André Grondin, Liev Schreiber, Wyatt Russell, Kim Coates, Elisha Cuthbert, Jay Baruchel and Callum Keith Rennie
The first GOON film was one of the most surprising comedies to ever fly under the radar. It brought Seann William Scott back in the spotlight and showed just how much calcium he injects into our funny bones. He has a certain energy and pizzazz that’s easy to love, and he continues that with the equally as fun sequel, GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS.
Last we saw Scott’s bouncer-turned-hockey player character, Doug Glatt, he had defeated his greatest opponent Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber) and secured his team a spot in the playoffs. We pick up with Glatt a little later when a lockout reunites his old teammates and brings new players on board. But after a nasty brawl that sends Glatt to the hospital, his days of throwing off the gloves and knocking out teeth may be over.
With a baby on the way, his wife (Alison Pill) encourages him to find a safer line of work (insurance seems promising), one that doesn’t involve coming home to his child with black eyes and bruised ribs. Glatt is prepared to hang up his skates for good until the man responsible for ending his career (Wyatt Russell) is made team captain and new ownership threatens to destroy all that he has created. This, of course, compels him to return to the ice one more time and return things to form.
GOON 2 doesn’t necessarily take any major risks in its story, other than further developing our characters. Like most sequels, especially of the superhero genre, its idea is to pit our hero against an enemy far greater than before, only to leave him defeated and wanting to build himself back up to take his foe down once and for all. It’s a safe direction to steer a narrative, but it’s hard to argue with material when it’s based on the life of a real player.
Jay Baruchel (MAN SEEKING WOMAN), who co-wrote and co-starred as Pat in the first film, returns. This time he pulls triple duty and sits in the director’s chair for the first time. And although the level of excitement lacks the sting of the original (a natural thing when the world and characters have already been established), his second go-round seamlessly bridges the style, spunk and no-holds-attitude of its predecessor.
The blood runs thicker in GOON 2. This becomes especially apparent when we see the new owner (Callum Keith Rennie) change the rules of the game. The way the players charge at each other as if they are going into battle will make you wonder if the body could produce any more blood. It’s all a part of this film’s entertainment, and not an element that is violent for the sake of being violent. It serves a purpose in the story and captures the ferocity of the sport.
This sequel could have so easily been phoned in and sent straight to DVD, but Baruchel and Co. turn this into something greater. GOON 2 brings together a phenomenal cast, produces many funny-as-hell gags, and continues the spirit of the original. And that’s enough to keep you in the game.
GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS is playing in limited release and On-Demand.
Dallas: Texas Theatre — Sat. (9/2) at 3:30 p.m. and Sun. (9/3) at 6 p.m.)