Rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language.
Starring: Costas Mandylor, Sean Patrick Flanery, Betsy Russell, Chad Donella, Cary Elwes
Written by: Patrick Melton/Marcus Dunston
Directed by: Kevin Greutert
Goddammit. GODDAMMIT. Saw 3D was absolutely horrible, but any smart movie fan could have told you that; since the original’s release in 2004, they have been on a steady decline as the focus went from the people to the traps and the “one per year” strategy eroded any chance for a lot of thought being put into it. However, part of me was still optimistic; this is supposedly the “final chapter”, so you would assume Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures would band together and give their cash cow a proper goodbye, right? So wrong. SO SO wrong. Instead of a balls out crazy end, Saw 3D is lifeless and on autopilot, feeling more like just another entry as opposed to its end. And to be frank, I feel stupid for assuming it would have been otherwise.
Saw 3D picks up where VI left off; Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) has escaped the bear trap that Jigsaw’s widow Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) put him in, and is now on the hunt for revenge. Scared for her life (although she was ballsy through the last few films, or at least gave that aura), she runs to Internal Affairs Detective Gibson (Chad Donella) for protection and tells him that Hoffman is the one behind the whole thing.
While Gibson and the FBI try to find Hoffman, another game has started involving Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery). Dagen bills himself as a Jigsaw survivor and turned his trial into a book deal and a whole pile of money. However, and this is a minor spoiler I guess, it turns out Dagen ISN’T a survivor; he’s just faking it in order to exploit the situation. Naturally this pisses off whoever is running the game (I assumed Hoffman would be busy trying to kill the shit out of Tuck to keep it going), so Dagen is kidnapped and put to test…this time for reals. Much like the third and sixth film, he has to go through different levels where has to choose to either save a member of his entourage or let them die. The ultimate goal? To save his wife Joyce (Gina Holden), who is unaware that her husband is a big fat PHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONY!
I honestly don’t even know where to begin. Do I start with the acting? Obviously it’s horrible, but that’s been a staple since the very first one. How about the traps? If you’ve seen the other six movies, you aren’t going to miss anything by not watching this. The newer traps are not very creative or inventive, and the two games that go on besides the main one are tacked on and do not matter to the story at large. How about the script? Well, it’s just plain bad and features choice lines like “crazier than a bag of cats” spoken completely straight like they ARE supposed to be taken seriously.
“Well Jon,” you may ask while sipping your tea and pontificating about pretentious things, “what about the 3D?” Well sir (or ma’am), let me just say: if you have to see it, see it in 2D. You would expect guts and blood flying at you, but that’s very few and far between and otherwise, it’s just a movie that happens to have visual depth. Nothing cool is done with it, unless you consider being robbed 3.50 for the surcharge “cool”. If so, you’re crazy. CRAZY.
What I hate most, what pisses me off the most, is the wasted potential. They bring back Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes), who hasn’t been seen since the original, and what do they do? Give him an extended cameo that from the moment you see him in a Jigsaw survivor meeting, you know EXACTLY how he’s going to play into the story. Otherwise, you’ve got Hoffman running around like a slasher villain, wielding his knife and way too easily killing police officers that should know better (again a horror movie staple, but c’mon they’ve WORKED with the man) in a revenge story that feels so out of place. Jill Tuck is now a whimpering wuss even though she had the balls to try to kill Hoffman in the last movie. The main game is derivative and outside of a pretty cool end to it (you don’t expect them to actually go there), it’s like you’ve crossed this bridge, say, SIX TIMES BEFORE. This is the LAST SAW MOVIE, couldn’t the companies and people involved at least tried to give it some sort of effort? Sigh.
Saw 3D is an exercise in how NOT to end a franchise; it’s unsatisfying and uninspired, going through the motions and tacking on an extra dimension they don’t even utilize. Sure, it ties up the loose ends to the muddled saga, but do you feel catharsis? Nope, you just feel like “okay well I hope the next one will be the real ending”. And you know there’ll be an 8th one because no one ever lets anything die. I’m embarrassed that I expected better, and will never make that mistake again.