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Movie Review: Saw III

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by James Wan and Leigh Whannell

For the third straight year, Lionsgate graces us with another Saw movie, quite possibly breaking the record for fastest “3″ ever.  The series so far has been up and way down, with the original Saw being better than expected and Saw II being one of the worst movies of 2005.  My expectations were immediately low for this sequel, considering a quickie production usually spells doom.  But Saw III is way better than I could have imagined.

When we left the extreme idiots of Saw II, Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) was stuck in the same puzzle as Cary Elwes was in the original Saw, and Amanda (Shawnee Smith) was taking over the reign of the nasty Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), a man with terminal cancer playing torture games with sinners; those caught in his elaborate traps must endure tremendous pain to get out of them or they die. 

This movie starts with elaborate traps, but no apparent way to get out of them without dying, which is totally against the MO of Jigsaw and raises the curiosity of detective Kerry (Dina Meyer, quickly reprising her Saw II role).  This is just a prelude to the main story, as doctor Lynn (Bahar Soomekh) is kidnapped and meets Jigsaw and apprentice Amanda face-to-face.  She must keep Jigsaw alive or else a collar will blow her head off.  She must keep him alive as another man, Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), goes through his Jigsaw journey, a man who has lost his son via car accident and has always wanted to make the man responsible pay for it.

My main complaint with Saw II is that, despite an ending that certainly made the whole thing seem worthwhile, I felt like the filmmakers didn’t care whether they had a good beginning and middle to get to that point.  I just watched a whole bunch of dumbasses get killed just so they could spring the ending on me.  In other words, the first hour and twenty minutes was total crap, and the last ten was great, and they expected you to like the whole movie based on that.

Here, the puzzles are no more clever, really, which is still a big sticking point with me.  I know we pay to see people getting tortured, not escape, but it would be more fun to see a wicked puzzle much like the first Saw set up (and bungled a bit), where you feel like there’s a surprise around every corner and you feel like they might find a way out of it, not that we really hope that they do–but the fun is seeing Jigsaw anticipate every move.  Saw II’s puzzles were terrible, and Saw III makes every single puzzle involve finding a key, which gets boring.

But, the movie does have a good share of intensity, and a hell of a payoff that makes more sense this go around.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this is a fun movie.  Like I said, it still has some rough edges, but it’s way better than it’s predecessors and about four hundred million times better than this months “horror” movies Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Grudge 2…combined.

Follows: Saw II

Next: Saw IV 


Comment from Brandon
Time: October 29, 2006, 8:56 pm

I totally agree. I always go by the philosophy that a good movie has three great scenes and no bad ones. I feel like Saw III had three great scenes but twice as many bad ones. I would actually watch this again and recommend it in a strange kind of way.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers here so I keep it very broad: I thought that surgery scene was the one of the most intense and toe-curling things I’ve ever seen. Funny isn’t it how the best and most disturbing scene in the whole film (or franchise for that matter) has nothing to do with one of Jigsaw’s puzzles/torture methods.

Comment from LESODA
Time: December 9, 2008, 12:52 pm


Comment from Brendan Reilly
Time: December 9, 2008, 12:54 pm

this movie was so gory that i had to cover my eyes for at least half of the movie SHIVER ME TIMBERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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