The ‘Saw’ Movies in Review: ‘Saw VI’
We really enjoyed some the simultaneous story trick of the 3rd and 4th movies, but unfortunately the 5th movie didn’t have anything quite as clever to offer. By the end of the movie the only major player in the series left standing was Diet Jigsaw, and he’s not nearly as interesting as anyone who came before him. Still, two movies left so let’s not write off the series just yet.
Director: Kevin Greutert
Cast: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Mark Rolston, Betsy Russell, Shawnee Smith, Peter Outerbridge
Plot: Hoffman continues to evade discovery as the new Jigsaw while carrying out the plans set up by the original prior to his death. To this end he’s trapped William Easton, a successful and ruthless health insurance executive, in a new gauntlet of challenges.
Review: Time for a new director to step up to the plate, this time a film editor, showing that the producers are truely invested in the franchise. Or they are using it to test out new talent because they’re going to make money anyway. Greutert’s experience in editing does give him a tight visual style, he know how to assemble a sequence. Getting the right performance from the actors, on the other hand…
The biggest flaw with this entry in the series comes from the responses people have to finding themselves in the Jigsaw traps. At this point the Jigsaw is public knowledge, as we see his death being reported on TV and books being written about him, so people know what’s happening when they wake up. It makes sense, but people are feeling increasingly casual about it. “Oh, look…we’re in a Jigsaw trap. Better start looking for clues and trying to solve it.” It’s almost like they’re mildly inconvenienced by a malfunctioning escalator. Compare the responses to those in the earlier film where people look TERRIFIED. You’d think that knowing the Jigsaw’s history would make things SCARIER for the victims since they know what’s coming.
Anyway, floppy haired Jigsaw No Calories (Mandylor) is mostly focused on hiding his alter ego, something he has trouble with because he has no concept of forensic sciences. Yes, they can tell what kind of knife is used to cut skin and can unscramble audio, don’t they have CSI in this universe? This must be why Full Cream Jigsaw (Bell) left detailed instructions for this guy, because he can’t manage this stuff himself. Fortunately he is given a chance to get away from the FBI investigators because they’re dumber than he is. They basically tell him that they’re on to him and then invite him to an unobserved, enclosed space with no back-up or even telling anyone what’s happening.
The other man character time around is Easton (Outerbridge), a slimy shitbag health insurer who takes pride in his system that denies coverage to two thirds of his claimants. Perhaps this is a scathing commentary on the state of healthcare but the message doesn’t mean much to us here because we don’t live in a country that think a profit driven medical industry is a good idea (gotta stick it to those Soviets, right?! Now please visit my gofundme so I can pay for an asthma inhaler). I can’t help but wonder how dickcheese Easton gets any business considering he brags about his algorithm to potential clients. You’d think Yelp reviews would have brought him down by now.
Anyway, he’s run through a gamut of choosing who lives or dies, having to apply his own formula for selecting the most deserving to people he knows. Aside from the aforementioned casual attitude to their predicament there’s the problem that we don’t know any of these people. We saw them all wander onscreen for a second or two each and now we’re expected to have some kind of investment in their plight. Plus Easton is being shown that his business practise is immoral…I’m pretty sure he already knew that since he would brag about it all the time.
The final piece of the puzzle (I’m proud of going this long without using that pun) is Jigsaw’s widow Jill Tuck (Russell) who seems to have become a member of Team Torture somewhere along the way. We finally get to see what’s in the box she got in the will and it’s something we’ve seen before. Nostalgia for the memorable reverse bear-trap is taking the place of imagination here. It seems her role is to ‘test’ Hoffman by sticking that thing on him because of something to do with Amanda (Smith) having been involved in Tuck having a miscarriage in a ridiculous attempt to imply some deeper connection and twist. It’s like they attempted to replicate the twisted and well planned story of the earlier films but in a…very stupid way.
This whole ‘test’ for Hoffman seems pretty trite anyway. They stick the bear trap on him and he has to not die. No key, no trick, no lesson…just try not to die. It feels like Jigsaw left this step of the plan until the last minute and rushed through the simplest possible solution to wrap things up and get to bed.
This series has officially run out of ideas. They’ve got no interesting characters left, they’re struggling to think up twists and they’re reusing old gadgets. It was after this one that the studio cut the planned franchise down from eight entries to seven, forcing those involved to condense the planned two-part finale to a single film. After this limp effort it’s no wonder the studio decided to cash in their chips.
Rating: TWO out of TEN
MOST HORRIFIC TRAP: It’s hard to take most of the traps in this one seriously because no-one is especially scared by them. In the shotgun roulette they act like contestants on Survivor trying to work out who to vote out of the tribe. Fortunately we do have the prologue scene where two people have to hack off their body parts with the person who chops the most being the survivor. The competitive element adds a lot to the situation, even if it does become comical when they start chopping themselves up over spite. “Oh yeah? Well I’m gonna cut my ARM off! So THERE!”