Wednesday, July 27, 2011

REVIEW: SAW 3D (2010)

Well, I think it’s time to level with you guys; the SAW series, after 7 movies, has gotten played out and tired. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe, and I had a hard time writing it myself.

Director: Kevin Greutert
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor

Our movie begins with a flashback to the first movie while the credits play, where we get to see Dr. Lawrence Gordon, played by a very not-Princess-Bride Cary Elwes yet again, cauterizing his stump of a leg on a hot wall…then we see some other very “important” shots of Hoffman and Jill from the last movie. We’re not even three minutes into this yet and already all I’ve seen is the table scraps from old movies. That’s not a good start!

OK, so the actual story begins with an interesting twist on the previous SAW films – two guys waking up in a trap. No, wait; that isn’t interesting or a twist at all…scratch that. What is a little different is that they’re actually in a big glass cage in the middle of a public square, where everyone can watch. Basically they have to play tug o’ war with two big saws or else this chick they were both dating at the same time dies. Yes, you read that right. SAW is now catering to the whims of teenage dating sitcoms.

Pfft, they wish that many people would be interested in a SAW movie.

After that we are introduced to our main character Bobby, played by one of the Boondock Saints. He’s gained a lot of fame and is even on TV just because he pretends to be a Jigsaw survivor and wrote a book about the “experience.” OK, where do I start? For one, what the hell does that book read like? I seriously want to know. “And then I slowly had to chop my leg off. The pain was excruciating. I was seriously getting tired of that dark green and black scenery everywhere. I remembered the good days when I was in slasher movies starring Sylvester Stallone…” And second, WHY?! Why would you do this? Isn’t there ANY OTHER WAY of getting money and fame that you could try first?! I just don’t get it. Is this really the best idea you had? Were you just sitting around one day going ‘hmmm, how to make some money…oh, I know! I’ll pretend I got put into a trap by a known psychopathic mastermind who can probably track me down when he finds out what I’ve been doing! I AM A GENIUS.’

So to amp up the douchiness of this whole scenario, Bobby actually has the stones to host a self help seminar for people who have been in Jigsaw’s traps; yeah, just like an AA meeting or something. Wow. I think we have a high-water mark for horribleness here – have you ever heard of a more despicable piece of human garbage? This is the equivalent of a guy claiming to be a cancer patient and trying to talk real cancer patients into feeling better about themselves. He makes Patrick Swayze in Donnie Darko look like Gandhi in comparison!

Not to mention the stuff he says about surviving the games helping your life outlook actually agrees with what the Jigsaw Killer has been spouting out since movie #1, which is testamount to being objectively incorrect and insane anyway. The character of John Kramer was a very sick man who had some very disturbed notions about justice and repenting for one’s sins, and while some sick-minded individuals in these films might have gone along with that, that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near his place to judge people. And for this guy to be on TV spouting this kind of nonsense, and holding help groups for is just so amazingly and incredibly insulting in this movie’s universe. Christ; he’s worse than the other victims of SAW traps in all the other movies combined. Combined.

So, after that debauchery, we see another Jigsaw trap, and I have to say, for those of you who always wanted to see the singer from Linkin Park playing a skinhead, you’re in luck. And for those of you who always wanted to see the singer from Linkin Park as a skinhead AND in a SAW trap where he gets himself and 3 other people killed at the same time well…Christmas done come early for you this year.

OK, the obvious joke is to use the lines "I tried so hard/And got so far/But in the end/It didn't even matter" here...but I'm not going to do it. That's right; I'm not!
I think we've got a new candidate for silliest face in a horror movie right here. Bonus points for the hook in his mouth; that's always a game-winner.
Speeeed racer!

OK, but seriously, let’s go through a play by play, because this is seriously amazing. I mean, it’s so goofy! The basic idea of this trap is that the skinhead leader Linkin Park-singer guy is glued to a car seat (it happens), and has to pull himself loose and pull a lever. If he doesn’t, things will happen in this order:

1. The car he’s sitting in will fall on top of his girlfriend, who is tied down below him.
2. Then the car will accelerate forward and rip out his friend’s face, who has a hook through his jaw attached to the back of the car.
3. And finally, the car will ram into his other friend, who is strapped to the wall.

Needless to say, he fails, and the ensuing mayhem is perhaps doubly the series’ goriest AND funniest moment ever. Click here to see it! I'm not putting the video itself here, since it's pretty graphic. Linkin Park members mean it's serious business for sure, and I know that will make it very hard to watch for any of you who have taste in music. But if you can get past that hurdle...this is a funny video. At least I thought so...

So after that incredibly glorious moment of cheese, the movie sadly never recovers, as we pretty much go into the same old stock blandness that every other SAW movie has to offer: a guy wandering through a dark, abandoned building, encountering various traps with people he knows in them and crying when he fails to save them…but wait, this SAW movie has something that the others don’t. Lead actor Sean Patrick Flanery is impressively bland and nonchalant about pretty much everything that happens, barely registering any kind of emotional reaction at all. I’d say this is horrendously silly and unrealistic, but at least we don’t have to listen to too much ear-aching whining this time around. Oh, except from his wife, who is attached to what looks like some kind of failed sex toy:

Yeah, on her hands and knees in a dark, creepy dungeon of an insane asylum? Not exactly a turn on, movie. I can't decide which part turned me off more; the fact that we saw a girl's throat torn open in the previous scene, or the fact that she's acting in a SAW movie at all.

The traps are really, really dull this time around, and even when they maybe could be interesting, it’s hard to be invested when they border on actual impossibility, like the one where the girl somehow has a hook perfectly latched into her stomach with a key to the trap on it – how did Hoffman get that in there, again? And the one with Bobby’s best friend having to walk around blindfolded borders on ludicrous. Bobby has to throw him a key from across the room, with a very high chance of it falling through the large open spaces between the wooden planks they’re standing on.

The blindfolded guy can't catch a tiny object thrown at him from several feet away? Call the presses. This trap is totally stupid and unfair.

That story ends when Bobby has to do the same trap he made up when he sold his fake story, which involves putting meat hooks into his chest and climbing up some chains. The only thing this scene evoked was mild amusement when I considered what was going on in his head: “I really wish I had picked a less painful trap to lie about now!” He fails, his wife gets burnt up and not a pulse is raised. One of the least captivating death scenes ever put on screen. This movie’s failure is visible from space.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the storyline between Hoffman and Jill, which continues in perhaps the most dull way imaginable, as both characters are about as interesting as stale toast. They try to act, a little bit, but their best efforts can’t combat the soul-crushing blandness of this movie’s script, and so it is in vein. When Hoffman kills her, I felt about as much tension as the last time I clipped my little toenail. I mean it’s seriously really underwhelming.

Hoffman escapes and it looks like he’s going to make it out OK, but he gets taken out by Dr. Gordon, who was put in so that the fans felt like this movie had anything at all to do with the first one, which was frankly the only movie in this damn series worth anything. And it ends on another clichéd and tired "Game over" line with a door closing and leaving Hoffman in the dark? The circle of worthlessness is complete. Can you even get any less interesting?!

Eh…this was really, really bland. I’d say more, but really I just feel bad for even watching this movie, so I’m just gonna end this review now and save myself the trouble of thinking about it further.