Rated: R :: Released: 24 October 2008
Director: David Hackl :: Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor and Scott Patterson
By James D. Deaux IV
05 November 2008 — From the gluttons for punishment comes the sequel to the 2007 Earth-2.net Movie Review of the Year. Yes, we're here to review that bastion of banality, that flagellation of flashbacks: Saw V!
James: It's that wonderful, whimsical time again. By now, you know what I do whenever the words "Tranquil Tirades" appear in the banner. However, when I team with my partner, I wonder if it's a misnomer to call these reviews tranquil. Welcome, once again.
Guest: Thanks for having me, Mr. Deaux. You know, I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, as I keep experiencing the same horrors over and over. It feels like we just reviewed Saw IV last week, yet here we are.
James: Please, let's not besmirch the good name of Bill Murray by bringing him into this review. So, we get the undeniable pleasure of reviewing Saw V.
Guest: Or most accurately, Saw Retcon, in which a dry, uninteresting character is packed into a continuity that doesn't know where it stands at any given moment. This was the most unnecessary film in the entire series, and that's saying a whole hell of a lot.
James: Absolutely. If nothing else — and really, there was nothing else — the first four Saw films at least looked like some minute level of effort was put into each one. In this movie, even the needless flashback at the end of the movie seemed apathetic. This entire movie was just utterly boring, and it looked like the cast and crew didn't give a damn what they were doing.
Guest: But James, I need to ask you one very important question: could you believe how it ended?!
James: Strahm is killed and Hoffman lives. Shock of the century!
Guest: I was assuming the surprise was after the credits, but hell if I'm staying in that theater one second longer. I'm left wondering where we start.
James: I knew one of us was going to have to ask that. Nearly every Saw review I've ever read or listened to has had that question. I suppose we could start with the pendulum guy. This was really the only imaginative death they had in this movie.
Guest: Imaginative in the sense that they had the decency to rip off Poe, at least. My first major gripe: most of the flashbacks were supposed to have happened all before the very first Saw movie, and was all Hoffman's doing, correct? Then how the bloody piss did Hoffman get access to Billy the puppet, or Jigsaw's voice for that matter?
James: Exactly, because Hoffman is masquerading as Jigsaw at that point, before he meets up with the real Jigsaw. Was the Sharper Image making Jigsaw voice disguisers?
Guest: And when the hell did Hoffman have the time to take engineering classes?
James: Even after Hoffman met Jigsaw, you need to ask that question. You're telling me that Jigsaw, in his deteriorating state, was able to train Hoffman and Amanda to build and use this crap?
Guest: And he apparently recruited Hoffman before he met Amanda, meaning that there was no point in her to begin with!
James: Bingo! After this, we get the opening credits and Strahm is still locked in the room where Jigsaw's body still remains intact. So, was that massive plot hole explained at all in this movie? If I could be bothered to remember what was on that wax-coated tape from Saw IV, I might be able to figure it out, but I don't care.
Guest: For those that don't recall, the massive plot hole we pointed out last year was that Strahm saw Hoffman shut the door on him and was left in the room with a mass of bodies. For anything resembling a sequel to work, Strahm had to be dead. Apparently, they read our review, and decided to make an entire movie of deus ex machinae by giving us a 90-minute clip show all for the sole purpose of killing off a character that should have been dead to begin with. There are a million questions that need to be asked from this alone. Let's tackle the first one: how did Jigsaw have a tape ready for Strahm in his little secret room? There is no possible way he could have known that that exact agent was going to show up in that exact room at some point.
James: Which leads me to one of my biggest questions of all: Strahm's big revelation at the end of the movie (where he gets all "RAWR" and loudly laments Hoffman's plan to be the hero and all that nonsense) was that everyone in that warehouse was meant to die. There are two things wrong with this. One, Jigsaw was the one who got all those people in there to begin with, so that couldn't have been the point because he (supposedly) doesn't want people to die. Failing that, though, if that was actually all Hoffman's plan, then he completely missed the point of Jigsaw's demented lessons. And thus, Jigsaw, the man who controls everything in the universe and makes sure things fall perfectly into place, failed miserably in choosing Hoffman.
Guest: Well, that's proven a good five minutes later when Hoffman, who in the span of three minutes was able to get his whole pig costume on and attack Strahm in some dark corner, putting him in a trap meant to kill him! Now, okay, we both know that Jigsaw's whole "I don't kill people" thing is utter bullshit, but let's pretend it's legit. Clearly Hoffman doesn't care, and intended to kill him anyway. Why act like a Bond villain and give him a pen to escape with? You're telling me he couldn't have just grabbed a hatchet or something and chopped him up? That would have made the movie about 10 minutes long, and by default, the best in the series.
James: I would have stood up and clapped had that happened. My next point of contention comes shortly after Strahm gives himself a tracheotomy and manages to live. After Hoffman gets his award, he finds a note on his desk: "I know what you did last summer." Oh, wait, I meant: "I know who you really are." Not once in the thousands of flashbacks do they ever come back to this note. Now, there is no way Strahm wrote that note because he was still in the hospital. Plus, he hadn't completely convinced himself of Hoffman's guilt yet. Who the hell wrote that note?
Guest: It wasn't even written. That shit was neatly printed and laminated. Don't get me started on the notes though. We still don't know what was in Amanda's note before she died, and I'm convinced we never will. Granted, I'm not heartbroken over it, but for a series that so prides itself on the "details," it's a slap in the face.
James: The only person who could have written that note is Jill, Jigsaw's ex-wife. But if we are supposed to believe Jill will be behind everything in Saw VI (and they beat us over the head with that in the beginning of this movie), then why did she go to Erickson and tell him that she thought Strahm was following her? Strahm mentioned her name all of one time. The rest of the time, he was fixated on Hoffman.
Guest: From what I can gather of this twist of subplots that have nothing to do with anything, Saw VI will be the first and final battle between Jill and Hoffman, in which they hopefully both die and end this whole mess. But either way, Jill has the most elastic character in the whole series. Is she good? Is she bad? Is she made of wood, thus proving that's not just her acting?
James: Now, if they have any dumbass plot twists left in their bottomless pit of them, it would be revealing that Billy actually wasn't in that black box. But speaking of that, how dumb was the executor of Jigsaw's estate? He hands this box to Jill and doesn't bother to find out what's in it? Jill is like, "Thank you. I will walk out of this room in the most suspicious and conspicuous way imaginable without revealing the contents of the box. And thankfully, since you are such a moron, you won't do anything to stop me." And the guy is like, "Okay." I love how the executor of the estate didn't bother to bring a law enforcement officer of any type to give the box to Jill. I mean, she's only the ex-wife of the most notorious mass murderer in the history of whatever city they're in. Who needs precautions?
Guest: Surely, with a pile of dead cops, about 20 rusted warehouses sprawled about town and a sudden drought of recording equipment on store shelves, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. That freaking box, though, has got to be the most blatant tease for a sequel in the history of cinema. I kept waiting for Desmond Doomsday to pop up: "What is in that mysterious black box? Does Jill know something that we don't? Tune in next October for another massive waste of your time!"
James: Upon perusing the web, the waxed tape in Jigsaw's stomach that Hoffman gets says that "[his] games have only just begun." At that point, you might remember that Hoffman was really shocked — despite the fact that in this movie, we see in flashback #5,829 that Hoffman knew all along Jigsaw was going to continue this insanity even after he died. So, there you go. They never explained the plot hole. I mean, if he had been at this for all that time, why would anything Jigsaw does shock or even startle Hoffman?
Guest: Not only that, but this means that Jill is evil and plans to kill Hoffman, but in the most ass backwards and inefficient way possible. Or there is yet another accomplice that existed, presumably in prehistoric times, that neither Hoffman nor Amanda knew about. Or Jigsaw's twin brother, Bonesaw, is still out there, ready to strike.
James:: Ah, yes, the immortal Bonesaw. What wacky misadventures he will inevitably have. The thing is, why was Jill so eager to take the box? She divorced Jigsaw because of his descent into this ridiculous obsession. She was appalled by what he had become. Now she's ready to play the game? To quote Michael Sims from World's Finest Podcast, "How did we get from A to B?!"
Guest: Apparently, we got there by going backwards through Z, knocking out R for looking at us funny and calling K's mom a hooker, before remembering that we were still trying to get to B somehow. Characters in this series are so inconsistent, that I have absolutely no idea who we're supposed to be siding with.
James: Well, obviously they want us to side with Jigsaw for some psychotic reason. He's a visionary! I swear to God, I fear for the future of this country when people can make a character that causes people to die in horribly gruesome ways and they want us to feel sorry for him. Movie or not, that is messed up. And while I'm on the subject, in one of the flashbacks Jigsaw has Hoffman tied up to explain his modus operandi to him, and he says that killing is wrong. I am severely tempted to break my vow of (almost) never swearing in my written reviews, so why don't you take over here?
Guest: Alright, I'm going to try my best to explain this — first in the way the movie wants us to think. Jigsaw, the kindly old man responsible for the deaths of a doctor, numerous police officers, FBI agents and other people whose only crimes were having normal, complex, imperfect lives, tells Hoffman that killing is "distasteful" and that he is a public servant looking to rehab these rejects of society. There are so many things wrong with that statement I shudder to decide where I should begin. First, how many people have been successfully rehabbed by this? One. That would be Amanda, and she ended up dead anyway. Then there's the whole talk of being "distasteful." This is the man that then, in the same breath, gives Hoffman shit because his pendulum blade isn't sharp enough. This is the same man that puts timers on each of his traps so that his hysterical and terrified subjects have no time to act. There are a million different ways he could have gone about this, putting these people in situations in which they could get scared straight. Had he never heard of Boot Camp? Jenny Jones actually does a better job than this idiot. Not to mention that he goes after cops and other public servants, instead of all the rapists and murderers that seem to exist in this world. I know you don't want to curse here, James, but I have no such hang up. Fuck you, Jigsaw. Fuck you in your wrinkly, self-important, hypocritical ass. I actually have to fear for society when people come up to me and tell me how "smart" these movies are. Wouldn't it have been a great twist, after watching so many of his experiments fail, watching so many people die, that Jigsaw realized himself that his methods were wrong?
James: Yes! "I must go rethink my life. All three days left of it."
Guest: Then he can find Jesus or something. But that would have been character development, and we can't have that.
James: No, no, no. Jigsaw is all about Eastern religions: Buddhism, Hindu, the pig references everywhere. He's all about Buddha.
Guest: You realize we haven't even gotten to the five new victims yet?
James: Oh, you mean the plot devices just thrown in there so that they can keep up the appearance of a Saw movie?
Guest: Those would be the ones.
James: What can you really say about them? I don't even think they gave us their names. That shows you how much they cared about their character development. But I suppose when you're just going to off them, why bother? The deaths that the victims suffer in this movie aren't even good. The Saw franchise is all about gore for the sake of gore, and everyone with a brain knows that. But they couldn't even make any decent nonsensical deaths. I mean, you have an incineration, a decapitation and a crushing. Like I said earlier, the pendulum was the only thing that was even remotely inventive. But as you said, they swiped it from Edgar Allen Poe.
Guest: The "surviving" girl was smoking hot, I'll give them that. My main issue here wasn't the traps, the fact that they all could have very easily seen that they were meant to work together from the start or even the fact that the whole sequence played out like a really shitty version of a LucasArts adventure game (the whole thing with keys, use the hook on the tub, etc). No, my biggest issue is that they are scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel for victims here. Granted, we've had a man that "works too hard" as a victim in the last movie, and now this one has five people that were vaguely involved in a house being burned down that had people in it. It's even pretty much stated that most of them had no idea that there were still people living inside; meaning that it was an honest mistake. The junkie clearly was a wreck because of it, so what lesson did he have to learn? And wouldn't the eight people in this abandoned building be derelicts and homeless anyway? Surely they've done something wrong themselves in the eyes of Judgmental Jigsaw, right?
James: That's an awesome point.
Guest: What's next? The people that steal hotel towels?
James: Saw VII: Revenge of the Holiday Inn Express!
Guest: If it's an excuse to see Paris Hilton get killed in a horror movie again, I'm all for it.
James: Also, getting back to your point a moment ago, how dumb are the police and FBI in these movies? They always run into these abandoned building by themselves. They never listen to anyone. They jump the gun and make hasty, ill-prepared assumptions about each other. And they generally seem like they have no clue what the hell they're doing at any given moment.
Guest: "Hey, my partner just died in here, and everything looks like it came out of a rejected Silent Hill movie set. How's about I poke around this giant rusted warehouse, close every door behind me, and not let anyone know that I'm here, so in the event of my demise, I can be easily framed!"
James: Speaking of the City of Rust, can someone out there explain the cinematography to me? Every time Strahm goes snooping around Jigsaw's old hangouts, he turns around and there sits or stands Jigsaw (and Hoffman most of the time, as well). No transition. And furthermore, Strahm was actually visualizing their exact motions and dialog. So, Jigsaw is the savior of mankind and Strahm is a psychic. Brilliant!
Guest: Yeah. When the flashbacks were happening, it was like Strahm was in the theater, watching the movie along with us. It was as if the Exposition Man strolled in and sang him a song.
James: I'd like to sing the creators of this movie a song: "I Hope You Die" by the Bloodhound Gang.
Guest: I'd much rather just hear a traditional Irish song, and have a line of Riverdancers stomp upon their heads and necks.
James: I love Riverdance! Make it happen.
Guest: I'll see what I can do. Either way, this is a movie that did not need to be made.
James: Pretty much. I think it's incredibly sad that only now are the majority of people seeing how dumb these movies are. Most reviews I've read have trashed it. Maybe not on our level, but they are finally seeing the light. Why did it take them so long, though?
Guest: I think they, like us, had a sliver of hope. The first movie, while silly, broke some ground and had a great concept, but each movie that piles upon it makes each one that came before look even worse in hindsight. This movie is the equivalent of watching the first Die Hard, then being told halfway through the second one that John McClane is actually a mobster named Stan, and the real hero of the first movie was a child named Cindy. Only Cindy is a rapist. It makes no sense simply for the sake of making no sense.
James: At this point, they're just hoping to hastily churn out the sixth movie, make their dwindling millions off of stupid people (like us for going to see them all) and leave it at that as they laugh all the way to their own private island in the Pacific. Well, unless you have anything else you want to bring up?
Guest: I would rather have a hot poker jammed into my urethra, have my limbs removed and have the members of Girls Aloud stripping in front of me, completely unable to act on my most perverted fantasies than have to watch any of these movies ever again.
James: This movie was just atrocious. Nothing made a lick of sense, the acting was pitiful, whatever the plot was supposed to be was replaced by endless flashbacks and there was hardly any effort put into this movie.
Grade: 1 / 100 — Really, the only reason it isn't getting a zero is because Saw VI hasn't come out yet.