By Kyle McCoy
A drunk driver killed Jeff’s young son and now he spends his own time drinking and playing with a loaded gun. It’s your familiar scenario of the grieving parent who pushes everyone away, especially his family. He continues to preserve his son’s room, having a tantrum if anyone touches anything. Jigsaw has decided to “help” Jeff let go of his son by teaching him to forgive the people involved. As he approaches each game (in yet another trap-filled warehouse), he finds the witness who never came forward, the judge who got the driver off and finally the driver himself, all trapped in some horrific device and only he can save them. But will he?
Meanwhile, Jigsaw is on his deathbed. His protégé Amanda has kidnapped a doctor to help him stay alive long enough to see Jeff’s outcome. Much of the movie is flashbacks showing how Amanda has helped Jigsaw throughout the films, actually giving us some cool ‘behind-the-scenes’ peek at how some games were set up and devised, including the very first one with Dr. Gordon and Adam chained across from each other. Additions like this continue to make the Saw series one giant story and I’m a sucker for good continuity.
I found myself anticipating how they could combine each death-trap with a way helping Jeff get over his son’s death. In what I thought was easily one of the most disgusting scenes ever filmed, a man is chained down inside a vat. Then these big, nasty pigs start coming out on meat hooks and are dropped into a grinder until they’re spewed into the vat, slowly drowning the man. In pig guts. Really. Jeff can get the key to free the man but it’s inside a furnace…with all of his son’s possessions. To get the key, he has to burn everything. I think that’s pretty well thought out and even clever. Unlike Saw II, most of the death-traps are really good. Maybe they realized that had to step up their game.
Just because Jigsaw is practically dead doesn’t mean he’s not still 12 steps ahead of everyone else. The twists are plentiful but none of them really blew me away like the previous films. They also illustrate that his web of partners is growing, which I’m not a fan of. The more people involved, the easier it is to come up with these twists because you’re not forced to work with what you have. While the previous films ended on a high note with room for sequels, they could have easily ended the Saw franchise with them. Saw III leaves too many loose ends. I know they do this to have material for future films, but it makes for an unsatisfactory ending to this film.
Final Rating: Six shotgun shells to the head. My favorite part of Saw II was getting to know Jigsaw. Unfortunately, now he’s too sick to do much and spends the movie in and out of consciousness. However, the film is worth watching for Jeff’s game and every death in the movie is a pretty damn entertaining one. Scroll down for SPOILERS!
SPOILERS: Again, I just thought there were too many last-minute cliffhangers to set up the sequel. We never get to see what’s in Amanda’s letter or hear Jigsaw’s tape. Jeff’s daughter is still missing somewhere and there are hints to more people trying to carry on Jigsaw’s legacy but nothing is resolved. I’m sure we’ll find out everything eventually, but this is a movie, not a TV show. I don’t like it when movies have a “tune in next time!” attitude. Nobody loves serialized stories more than me, but a film should be able to stand on its own.