I can honestly say that in all my years of being a sad out of shape geek, that I didn’t play many sports. I was too busy watching the Batman Animated Series to put the time into playing hockey despite my Canadian heritage. However, I love sports movies.
Recently I watched two and they both shared the same theme of bouncers moving from the world of the nightclubs to fighting people for money.
But which film is really the Ultimate Fighter? Which is the UFC and which is the Strikeforce of the film world. I’m sorry in advance I’m probably gonna keep making those jokes.
In the red corner, it’s Goon:
Goon is a film about hockey not the comic book character. The film stars Seann William Scott as former bouncer turned hockey goon Doug Glatt.
Glatt is a loser as most of his family is working in good jobs and he’s left working the bars until the early hours of the morning.
Glatt ends up beating an Oshawa player at a local hockey game, which he attends with his…mentally handicapped friend (sorry he just seems that way) Pat who is played by the films co-writer Jay Baruchel. After the fight Glatt, of course, get’s recruited and sent into the minor hockey system, until he ends up in a farm team for a major hockey team.
Along the way he is compared to an aging hockey player Ross “The Boss” Rhea and a rivalry kind of brews. Glatt also falls in love with a local girl named Eva played by Alison Pill.
The biggest complement I can pay this movie is that it’s fun. It’s a hockey movie up there with Slap Shot. While some of the characters like Pat are really annoying the most of the cast do a good job throughout the movie. While I wouldn’t consider “Stifler” a good actor there are a couple of scenes where you really feel for this guy.
The movie also has some interesting direction. Michael Dowse and his cinematographer Bobby Shore come up with some interesting shots for a hockey movie, namely a puck cam for one scene. Couple that with the use of slow down during some of the films more dramatic fight scenes the direction is pretty good.
If you’re a hockey fan this one is a watch. For non-sports fans, there a number of good laughs throughout that should keep you interested. Sure the over the top acting of Baruchel is a bit much at times but the movie has its charms.
And in the blue corner, Warrior:
We quickly move from a Slap Shot knock off to a Rocky look-a-like.
Warrior is a MMA themed movie that deals with two brothers as they enter a MMA tournament that is so big…it doesn’t feature UFC, to determine who the toughest guy in the world is. Sadly Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer are not in this film.
The film features two stories. One that’s interesting that stars Tom Hardy as Tommy Riordan, a former US Marine who returns home to try and get his alcoholic father, played by Frank Grillo, to train him for the MMA. And the boring one featuring Joel Edgerton (or paper bag I’m not sure) as Hardy’s brother Brendan who also want to get into the world of MMA to win money to stop the bank from foreclosing on his house.
Despite the Hardy story being more interesting most of the film features Edgerton mopping around while his wife played by a mostly clothe-less Jennifer Morrison (seriously most of the movie she isn’t wearing cloths) as he loses his day job and takes up MMA.
Also in this film is everyone’s favourite tweeter/Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle as Ivan Drago… I mean Koba, a Russian MMA fighter that has no lines of dialog in the movie.
It’s pretty clear that Gavin O’Connor, the co-writer/producer/director of the movie, has seen all of the Rocky films…he’s watched them a lot. Most of the movie feels like the just replaced parts of the Rocky scripts with some MMA stuff.
Tom Hardy’s volunteers to spare with the gyms main fighter after he’s turned down at first the fighter asks him: “How’s Adrian and Paulie?”
Get it? Cause there from Rocky. Very cleaver.
Really the point of the film is to try and pull at your heart strings much like Rocky did by putting the main characters in the worst possible situations a script writer could come up with. One of Edgerton’s kids in the movie even had a “expensive operation” haven’t heard that one before.
Does it work? A bit, but when I look into Edgerton’s eyes all I see is sadness. Sadness not due to the plot but because he acts about as well as BJ Penn fights these days i.e. not very well (see I know MMA).
So the tournament, that isn’t UFC indorsed to the point to takes place in Atlantic City not Las Vegas, ends with the two brother having to face each other and blah blah man tears and such.
I can’t really give the film any points for originality. I’ve seen the Rocky films and they’re done better (well not Rocky 5). I can’t even really say the fighting is that great.
The fights in Rocky are amazing due to the films amazing editing, in Warrior the MMA fighting is shot badly and isn’t edited that well.
While I’m not a professional director but it seems to me it wouldn’t be that difficult to copy the shooting style of Rocky. Instead there’s this weird handheld shoot from outside the cage shot that happens for most of the movie. I guess they were trying something dramatic, but it really doesn’t work.
In the end, the movie is ok. It has a plot, it has some…ok acting (Tom Hardy and Frank Grillo where really the only two who cared) and it might force some man tears, but the film is trying to damn hard. Much like Rory MacDonald the film needed to go in for the knock out blow, but it spends most of it’s time dancing around the octagon.
So which Bouncer wins? By unanimous decision it’s Goon. It’s fun, light and doesn’t try and make you care about a Paper Bag…I mean actor.