The creators say Saw 3D is “the final chapter” in this very successful franchise. We’ll see. In the meantime, this seventh Saw flick is as nasty as any of them and better than some.
The majority of the movie follows a slightly weaselish dude named Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery), a self-help guru who claims to have survived one of Jigsaw’s tortuous, torturous puzzles. Not only did he escape, but the horrible experience made him a stronger, better person. Yes, Jigsaw is actually a humanitarian.
This gross notion — that the miserable and mean-spirited viciousness of Jigsaw actually has some moral value — was a plot-point in the first Saw movie way back in 2004, when the pathetic junky played by Shawnee Smith turns out to be working with the cruel, vengeance-hungry loony.
Smith isn’t seen in Saw 3D and Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is hardly in the movie at all, just one creepy scene in which he has a copy of Dagen’s book signed by the author. Ah, the great link, without which this movie would just be another series of elaborate tortures.
A stand-up guy
The movie begins with Dr. Lawrence Gordon (played by the slightly puffy Cary Elwes) dragging his one-footed self down a filthy, dark corridor just moments after he cut through his ankle to free himself from his fetters. Thinking on his feet, or rather foot, the good doctor finds a piping-hot steam conduit and presses his bleeding stump to it in order to cauterize the wound. Yowch!
We also have to spend time with the slightly puffy Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) who continues the Jigsaw legacy. In addition to capturing Dagen and his inner-circle of publisher, lawyer and agent, Hoffman is intent on murdering fellow detective Matt Gibson (Chad Donella). It was Gibson who was at least partly responsible for getting Hoffman into trouble.
As already mentioned, the main story in Saw 3D involves the Dagen character. He is confronted with a lengthy series of puzzles, the prize of each being the life of one close companion or another. The movie-makers seem to take pleasure in never allowing a puzzle to be solved.
Good to be bad
The Saw movies are bleak, set in a dirty, shabby world in which the good suffer and the vengeful… also suffer. Nobody gets out of here alive, it seems, and maybe that’s a good thing as there are few truly good people in these flicks.
They can be fun to watch, though, and Your Humble Reviewer has been enjoying them since the first one. Released each year since 2004 at Halloween, there will be plenty of fans wanting another dose of unadulterated sadism come October 2011. We here at hmpod.com will try to keep those fans up to date on new nasties to fill the gap.
Of course, since the filmmakers are wrapping up the Saw series with Saw 3D, it is only logical that the survivor of the first movie should make an appearance. Elwes’ Dr. Gordon plays a pivotal role in the seventh movie and, indeed, all of the Saw movies now that we have a chance to look back at the entire oeuvre.
Unfortunately, this is a review of the 2D version of the movie, so YHR cannot comment on the “eye-popping 3D” effects of the theatrical show. Still, it’s a gory and gruesome movie that lives up to its many predecessors. Fans will love it./JE
out of a possible five skulls.
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