Review: Shame

A devastating, magnificent film that trades almost solely in sex – and yet looks right through it.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

For sheer balls-out entertainment, Ghost Protocol is up there with the franchise's best.

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

After Benjamin Button and The Social Network, this feels like Fincher back in Se7en territory. Grizzled, haunting and beautiful.

Margaret - A Maze That Doesn't Always Amaze

A few thoughts on Kenneth Lonergan's post-9/11 coming-of-age drama starring Anna Paquin.

Woody at the BFI

As the BFI's season of Woody Allen films continues, we look back at some of the director's best (and worst) films.

And the Oscar for Best Eyebrows Goes to...

Jean Dujardin, whose tufts of facial hair can convey almost any human emotion. Don't believe me? Here's proof.

BIFA Shortlist Puts BAFTA Longlist to Shame

Because what the internet clearly needs is another rant about how BAFTA has overlooked 2011's best British films.


A heart-warming blend of blood, ice and hockey, Goon is thugging brilliant.

Would Thomas Newman Be a Good Bond Composer?

Is Newman the right choice by Sam Mendes for Skyfall? Forget American Beauty and things start to look promising...

The Artist

A feel-good treat, pure and simple. You’ll swoon, you’ll sigh, you’ll want to tap dance.

Top 11 Films of 2011

What were 2011's best films? And how wrong am I about my pick for number one?

Star Ratings

Well good


iFlicks on Twitter

Home Reviews Cinema Review: Goon
Review: Goon Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 07:26
Sean William Scott, Goon - review
Director: Michael Dowse
Cast: Sean William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Alison Pill, Jay Baruchel
Certificate: 15

Dum dum dum do-da do-da, dum dum dum do-da do-da, dum dum dum do-da, dum dum dum do-da DO-DA.

The tune, of course, from popular Belgium-Holland dance group 2 Unlimited’s hit single, Get Ready for This. Or, as it’s better known, the theme music for SNES game NHL 96 – widely regarded (by me) to be the most realistic presentation of ice hockey ever. EVER.

But now, Nintendo have some competition in the form of Goon. Written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, it’s a sports comedy about Doug Glatt (Wiliam Scott), a nice-but-dim youngster with a talent for lamping people round the head. Naturally, he becomes an ice hockey player.

Encouraged by his fast-talking best friend (Baruchel), Glatt builds up a bit of a reputation among the fans. In a sport that celebrates that noble history of people punching each other on a slippery surface while carrying big sticks, Glatt punches people on a slippery surface while carrying a big stick like no other – except, perhaps, for seasoned slapper Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Schreiber).

Teaching his team about actual teamwork, Glatt whacks, whallops and bleeds his way to the play-offs, where Rhea’s right hook is waiting. If you can’t guess where this is going by now, you might as well hit yourself with a hockey stick and call it quits.

No, Michael Dowse’s sports movie won’t win points for clever plotting, but it scores repeatedly for everything else. From its slow-mo opening shot of a blood-splattered tooth dropping onto the ice (accompanied by loud classical music), Goon somehow manages to be both ludicrously serious and seriously ludicrous. The gore is wonderfully overplayed, but the amusing violence has a gut-wrenching accuracy to it – one given an extra kick by Liev Schreiber’s intimidating rival.

In between the great puck action, solid scripting and Dowse’s nippy visuals, plaudits should go to Sean William Scott who transforms himself to give a surprisingly sensitive performance. What could have been a gross-out swear-fest (see Baruchel’s best friend) is turned by Scott into a sweet story of an outcast come good. Scenes with his dysfunctional, intelligent family are touching and believable, as is his naïve loyalty to his (exceptionally hairy) teammates. His unwavering cuteness even manages to woo unsuspecting Eva (Pill).

Compare this to Scott’s more familiar roles in American Pie, Evolution and Dude, Where's My Car? and this is almost award-worthy stuff. Even if he does spend the whole film wearing a shirt with “69” on the back – yes, for exactly those reasons.

Is it the new Slap Shot? Perhaps not, but Goon is certainly subtler than you’d expect. As for The Mighty Ducks, they wouldn’t stand a chance in a fistfight. In fact, all Goon needs is little bit of Dutch-Belgian Eurodance backing and it could even rival NHL 96 on the SNES. And ice hockey praise doesn’t come higher than that. Speaking of which, I’m off to pummel some pixels with my controller pad.


A heart-warming blend of blood, ice and puny brains, Goon is a thugtastic treat at the start of awards season.


What did you think of the film?

( 4 Votes ) 


  • alison pill
  • goon
  • liev schreiber
  • michael dowse
  • sean william scott
  • slap shot
  • the mighty ducks

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification: