Having grown up in rural Scotland, I'm no stranger to random acts of physical violence. There’s not that much to do up there beyond sheep farming and punching each other in the face until teeth are dislodged and blood is spurted. According to Goon, ice hockey and rural Scotland have more in common than you’d think. I didn’t see any sheep but I did see enough of what is referred to as “facial menstruation” to last me until my next trip to the Hinterland.
Unappreciated by his intellectual parents, bouncer Doug Glatt, played by Seann William Scott of American Pie and Dude Where’s My Car?, is supposed to be a loveable dimwit. Hired by a Canadian ice hockey team as an enforcer, or goon, his job is to protect their star player from the other team.
Apparently, “protect” in the context of ice hockey means to beat members of the other team up and thus we see countless shots of noses flowing with blood, busted lips and teeth flying everywhere. Glatt is put forward as a sympathetic character and yet and it’s hard to root for someone whose job application skills consist of battering his team mates because they laughed at him.
The inevitable love story feels tacked on, with a weirdly flat performance by Alison Pill who, despite her self-declared love of beer and violence, weeps in anguish every time her man is battered on the ice. With no previous knowledge of the role fighting plays in ice hockey (everything I know about the sport, I learnt from Mighty Ducks 2), I was cringing along with her.