Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Seven Days of Sawdom: Day Five

Hello, all, and welcome back to my retrospective of the Saw franchise. Today's look at the franchise presents perhaps the most... well... needless installment of the franchise. I'm not sure what else to say about this; this is the one film in the franchise that I don't really see much of a point to.

I'll cut to the chase right away and talk about today's movie... But first, disclaimer:

There will be spoilers for extremely plot-sensitive details from the previous Saw movies. If you have not seen the previous four installments of the franchise, turn back now and watch them before reading the review. You can't say I didn't warn you when your franchise is spoiled.
With that said, let's go on...

Saw V

The events of Saw III and IV leave Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and Amanda dead, but his work is far from finished given the reveal of Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) as Jigsaw's second apprentice. However, FBI agent Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson) is on to Hoffman, and it's up to him to figure out how to bring Hoffman in while five people play another of the now-posthumous Jigsaw's games as carried out by Hoffman.

See? I told you it would eventually be impossible to keep the spoilers out. From here on out, I'll assume you've seen the first four movies of the franchise.

Here, the gore gets taken to all sorts of new levels, such that it becomes incredibly insane. Now they're really going full-out with how badly they can fuck up people. And it's gotten to the point where it's not there for the tension so much as it is for the shock factor. But we're not shocked; we're startled. In fact, at one point I actually laughed at the gore since it was obviously fake. And that is perhaps the worst sin perpetrated by the gore. What doesn't help is that some of the actors they got for this are absolutely terrible at what they do; some of their deliveries are very flat for the kinds of ridiculously life-threatening situations we find ourselves in, and it doesn't help us sympathize with them all that much.

But what makes it all worse is the fact that for a franchise that banks on it, there isn't all that much there. Most of the movie is spent following Hoffman and Strahm around as Hoffman gets acquainted with the Jigsaw killer via flashbacks (even being seen helping Jigsaw set up one of the traps from the first movie and the big trap from the second movie) and as Strahm chases Hoffman around. And not all that much goes on.

And unfortunately, there's not enough of a really obvious correlation between the main game of the movie and the attention put into Hoffman's history with Jigsaw for there to seem like there's any actual worth to what's going on. The entire thing thus comes off as entirely pointless; we don't really need to see Hoffman's history with Jigsaw all that much, and it doesn't really relate at all to the so-called 'Fatal Five'. Perhaps if we had concentrated more on Strahm, we would've had a way to connect with the film, but that was not to be. And as a result, the whole thing comes across as a bit of a mess that doesn't really know what it wants to do with itself.

And that is a shame, as Saw V has a lack of focus that ultimately renders the whole enterprise pointless. The story of Hoffman and Jigsaw is interesting enough, but it doesn't relate to the rest of the movie well enough for us to really care. It's the worst installment of the franchise, mostly by how useless it feels from how unfocused it is.


Skip it.

All right...

I could very easily see this as being integrated into the plot of one of the other Saw movies, seeing as how there wasn't a whole lot that happened. There were many hints that some of what we saw at play will get worked into the next installment of the franchise, but for me it didn't feel like there was enough substance within this film to do that.

As a result, this feels more like a filler episode than anything. And appropriately, it's the worst of the series as a result. There's really not a whole lot more to say...

In terms of the franchise's general plot, I can see why they concentrated on Hoffman's history with Jigsaw; it felt like a bit of an ass-pull, and this installment serves to reinforce the fact that yes, this actually happened. But it did so while distracting from the main theme of this particular installment. If they had worked it into a different installment, it might actually have worked. But we'll see when we get to the next installment.

And that's really all I have to add. Not much was added with this installment, but we'll see what happens when we hit part Six.

So yeah.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews, at the sunset of the Fifth Day of Sawdom. I'll see you guys next time, and I hope you'll join me on the Sixth Day of Sawdom when I review Saw VI.

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