[Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell]
Even for a fairly dedicated "Saw" fan like myself, I did not go to the opening night of this new installment. I am a scrooge at heart when it comes to overpaying at the box office, even for a movie I have been looking forward to. But as only a true fan would, I did watch all of the previous movies on DVDs before venturing out.
Picking up where the last movie left off, Detective Hoffman emerges as the successor to the Jigsaw legacy, now that John Kramer, the original Jigsaw, has died. Jill Tuck, John's ex-wife, also becomes embroiled into the puzzle with a box willed to her by late husband. What grander scheme did Jigsaw leave behind?
Even though the critics write that this franchise is running low on fuel, I disagree. Even if the later movies do not have the cult appeal as the original, each installment enriches the mythology of Jigsaw and the people surrounding him. Even in death, John Kramer, gives us more insight as to his macabre machinations via flashbacks and videos. The game that Jigsaw instructs Hoffman to carry out is cool and simple, albeit I found the hunt for the Jigsaw killer accomplice while Hoffman is actually part of the investigation more suspenseful.
There is a underlying theme of failed health care that was personal to Jigsaw as his life ebbed away. Unfortunately for the people caught in Jigsaw's latest trap, his death is only the beginning of the game. For me, in this case, I actually want Jigsaw's methods for rehabilitation to succeed.
I enjoyed the movie, both as a standalone and as a continuation of the series. I found myself loathing the main player in the game until he actually started to understand the game's meaning. I wished for the FBI agents to actually put the pieces together to exonerate Straum and indict Hoffman as the accomplice. I wished for a simpler time when Jigsaw's sense of morals was something to root for, before it was twisted by Hoffman's personal ambitions as his successor.
Did I say "...before it (Jigsaw's sense of morals) was twisted..."? Maybe I should put the series away until next year!
Worth: Matinee and a DVD (for the fans)