Goon: Last of the Enforcers (15)

THE first Goon was something of a surprise joy back in 2011, hitting out of nowhere with a bloody right hook that was goofy, profane, exceedingly violent and surprisingly endearing all at once. It worked so well in no small part due to the central performance of Seann William Scott.

Now six years hence, Scott reprises his role as Doug “The Thug” Glatt, the dim-witted but loveable heart of the Halifax Highlanders ice hockey team in which he solidified his place as the lead enforcer AKA the tough guy who can most effectively beat up the opposing players if and when it comes to that during games. And this is hardcore ice hockey we’re dealing with so it regularly does.

As is often the case with sequels, Last of the Enforcers amps everything up, from the brazenly brutal fist bouts to the overall plot that threatens Doug’s status within the sport when a ruthless new player appears on the scene in the form of Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell).

It also ups the personal stakes for Doug himself, now married to his pregnant wife Eva (Alison Pill) who would love to see him give up a fist fighting hockey career in favour of finding a safer line of work. Then there’s his friendship with former rival Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) who has left professional hockey and now makes a meagre living taking part in a hockey fighting league. For those who have invested in Doug’s endearing life, it’s nice to see the follow-up develop things to a place where a lot of comedy sequels would have let that fade.

While it’s not quite as fresh or funny as the first film, it nevertheless stays true to the spirit of touching sweetness laid underneath the wince-inducing violence-on-ice, the ever-present vulgarity – particularly during locker room insult banter or the increasingly uncouth chit-chat from Eva’s friend Mary (Elisha Cuthbert) – and the overall knowingly goofy vibe.

Jay Baruchel steps up from co-writing the first one and starring as Doug’s brash friend Pat to his directorial debut. There’s a real sense of affection in the filmmaking, a certain heartfelt charm for this eclectic set of characters.