Back in 1977, Paul Newman starred in the hockey movie "Slap Shot". He was re-teamed with Struther Martin ("Harper", "Cool Hand Luke", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", and "Pocket Money") which had a miserable minor-league hockey team change it's strategy to fighting during the games.


It was hilarious as it took a not so tongue-in-cheek look at the violence of hockey.


Here we are 35 years later and what do you know... another look at the violence in hockey. Director Michael Dowse ("Take Me Home Tonight") take the action back to the ice with "Goon".

Casting Seann William Scott ("Cop Out", "Mr. Woodcock") as Doug Glatt, a relatively mild mannered young slacker who doesn't measure up to his Jewish background. His fatehr (played by Eugene Levy) is a doctor and his brother is on his way to medical school.


But somewhere the brain pool ended with his brother to the disappointment of his family. Instead Doug hangs out with his best friend Ryan (Jay Baruchel) who is a trans-everything goth, punk-rocking hockey fan with a popular podcast that Doug participates in.


While at a local hockey game, Ryan infuriates an opposing player who decides to come after him in the stands. To his defense comes Doug who literally beats the snot out the player with relative ease.


This doesn't go unnoticed by the coach of the local team that has been in a perpetual losing streak and is looking for anything to spark them. He recruits Doug to try out for teh team - even though Doug doesn't even know how to skate. And... [natch] Doug makes the team.

The team begins to have some success winning not only fights, but also games directly because of Doug. Again this doesn't go unnoticed as their Canadian Minor League Hockey team affiliate takes notice and brings Doug to their losing team. Keep in mind he can still barely skate!


This is an effort to correct a previous mistake when they recruited a highly touted, highly skilled player named LeFlamme ((Marc-Andre Grondin). During LeFlamme's debut, he was knocked out by the league thug Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) who is getting up in age and finishing out his career in the minors. LeFlamme went to being LeFlame-out as he was now perpetually snake-bit.


After Doug beats the crap out of a couple of Canadians the hype builds for a Rhea - Glatt showdown.


The film wisely understands that non-stop violence would be boring, so Doug was given a love interest named Eva (Alison Pill) who admires Dougs ass-kicking abilities and is basically turned on by them. But she already has a boyfriend - but he's out of town and she confesses to being a bad girlfriend. She sleeps around a lot.


That romance is merely a diversion as the real story is Doug as a likeable thug. He says please and thank you even when challenged to a fight and seems to hold no anemosity after his fights. It's basically something he just happens to be good at which is exactly what makes this a very funny film.


"Goon" is a laugh riot. It not only glorifies hockey violence, it virtually makes it the polite thing to do.   -- GEOFF BURTON