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I could lie to you and say I’m a very busy guy, but sometimes no matter what the reason, we movie watchers fall behind. There are nearly a dozen films that I missed out on providing theatrical reviews for and missed a few DVD releases on top of that. Which is why I’m going to play catch up for the next week and change. New reviews will still take priority for the Thursday Report, but I’ll regularly be posting my catch up reviews as they’re ready.

saw-v-posterFirst up, Saw V, the sequel that is part prequel to the late October franchise. In this installment, Agent Strahm is on the trail of a possible second Jigsaw assistant shortly after the events of Saw IV. The movie makes no bones about hiding the identity of the assistant so I won’t either – Detective Hoffman is the new man with a demented plan in the series. This flick shows his admittedly pretty good reasons for taking up the pig mask in search of street justice. In a concurrent storyline, a group of five interconnected people must decide whether to work together or fend for themselves as they navigate an extensive hallway from hell.

Kills

We see six fresh victims for the series and a few other deaths are shown in flashbacks, as well as a body or three shown from the previous films.

Ills

Obviously I can’t go too deeply into this area, as the main (only?) reason to watch a Saw film is for the creative kills. That aside, there are bullet wounds,a decapitation, crushed hands, a body cut in half, stomach bits flung around, some stabbings, and plenty of shots of gore.

Lust

I’m crushing on Julie Benz but there isn’t much to work with here.

Learning

Live a good life or face the consequences. Also, never hesitate with a trap. Once you know the game, it’s better to just get it over with rather than cut it close and risk dying after a considerable amount of pain.

Review

juliebenz_sawvI wasn’t sure how I was going to react to this film as I’m very hit-or-miss with the Saw franchise. I didn’t see what the big deal about the first one was, didn’t love the second, really liked the third, and pretty much hated the fourth. The fifth was a small step back in the right direction for the franchise and I’d say it was definitely better than IV and around the same level as II. Unfortunately, the team behind this installment seems to have forgotten the rules of the game in at least one instance. *Spoilers Upcoming* For Jigsaw to let you die, you have to have first done something wrong. You need to be in a position to rehabilitate. Agent Hoffman found himself in two traps – the first he was in for not heeding a warning, but he escaped. The second, pretty much the same. Basically, Hoffman is being punished for not listening to the bad guy and being a good cop. It really is a shame, considering Scott Patterson could have made for an interesting lead in chasing Jigsaw Jr or whatever we call the next in line. But instead, he’s killed for “not listening to the warning,” which last I checked, is complete bullshit.

That’s not the only problem with the film – some kills are executed with weak CGI and none of them are really that inventive. Nor are they even that hard to figure a way around. Add on top of that the 30 minutes of film dedicated to exposition and 30 dedicated to flashbacks and you’re only left with 30 minutes of new movie. But this is really a story about setting up away for the franchise to continue. Jigsaw is definitely dead. Tobin Bell is in the film for awhile and gives us a little insight into his character – he’s probably the best part of the film despite his limited appearance.

On the positive side of things, there are some rather tense moments in the film, but they’re brief and often interrupted by a flashback or a meaningless rhetorical question raised to fill the audience in on what has happened. The brightest part, if you consider this good news, is that the franchise now has a blank check to move forward. Pretty much everything has been tidied up and organized and now the films can go forward without the handicap of a dying or dead Jigsaw John, though assuredly we haven’t seen the last of him.

For fans of the franchise, this is definitely better than that turd IV and is similar in structure to II, so if that sounds like something you’re interested in, by all means grab this DVD. It comes with features on the kills, on editing, and has some commentaries. It also has a (literal) plethora of Lionsgate trailers.

Grade: C-

What are your thoughts on the Saw franchise?


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