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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Saw II » User review

Not as bad as the first, but still pretty bad

  • Nov 9, 2006
Pros: Neat gore factor and imagination, mood and tone

Cons: Everything else.

The Bottom Line: A middling gore-fest. If that is your thing, then you'll like it, otherwise . . . find something else.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.

I tend to avoid reviewing anything that has more than 10 reviews when I pull it up. Sometimes, however, it is a good idea to review it just as a matter of personal consistency, whether anyone reads the review.

The best things I can say about Saw II are that 1) the humongous and story ruining plot holes in the first Saw have been plugged and 2) it isn’t worse than Hostel which is still the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

The plot summary can fit on a napkin. There is this guy, conveniently named John, who has terminal cancer. He puts people in a situation where they have to face what he sees as their weakest spots in order to escape what is otherwise a deadly situation. In this rendition of this tale, after the initial gratuitous murder, pits several people in a ‘house’ they have to escape because sarin gas is slowly filling the house. They have to solve a puzzle involving their similarities in order to get out. That’s it. The question, as with any porn . . . um . . . I mean gore-fest, is which ONE will solve the puzzle and survive. Multiple survivors breaks such a fundamental horror movie rule that it would be tantamount to breaking the second law of thermodynamics.

I didn’t review Saw because I wasn’t a member when it came out, and I won’t cover it now because, in order to feel right about doing it, I would have to watch it again. That I will not do. Saw II is an improvement over the original, but still stuck so firmly in the shock-for-shock’s sake mold that it will never rise above, say a leach, on the movie evolutionary scale.

There is one major thing that cannot be overlooked. Please keep in mind that suspension of disbelief is often misquoted. What Mr. Coleridge said was you needed a ‘willing’ suspension of disbelief (when he was talking about watching Shakespeare performed on stage). I am willing to go only so far in my disbelief. The fact that they used sarin gas invalidates the movie before more than 20 minutes have passed. First, sarin is fatal at doses so low there couldn’t be a controlled release that would allow a group to stay alive for as long as the movie states. Second, and someone actually says this in the film, there is no antidote to it. So, one big, fat, inconvenient fact destroys part of the movie. Call it something else, it would take a writer less than a millisecond to come up with some fake nerve agent that works slowly—Sarbox (Sarbanes Oxley, something else that works slowly and scares the hell out of some people). I cannot suspend disbelief if it is going to take more energy to do than it would to sit through the whole movie in the first place.

The movie is sort of a training-wheels version of the esoteric and intelligent Cube. A group of people is together in a place they must escape from. They are not going to get along, they have to rely on each other and their own wits to out maneuver the machine set in motion to kill them.

See the problem is that Cube already did that. Furthermore, Cube created suspense by decent story writing and decent acting with only a nod towards the coolness of special effects. Saw II is like an amateur trying to tell the same story. Since they get bored with the actual puzzle (meaning they are the type who prefer the word searches to the more erudite crossword puzzle) they just throw in a pile of violence and deadly traps intended to prey on the thoughtless, which is pretty much everyone in the film. As with Cube, you aren’t supposed to like or identify with anyone in particular in Saw II, this makes the film even harder to digest. If you really aren’t rooting for anyone, then why watch the game? They all deserve whatever ending they get—if they get out alive, they have done so based on luck and not on any twist of character.

I watched it because the first one was so bad; I wanted to see if the same sins were committed. For the most part, they were not—there is one I will cover in just a second. What makes the movies even the slightest bit compelling is that there is a group of adults out there who are coming up with horrific ways of having someone essentially commit suicide by choice, by default because they choose not to play, or to commit a form of masochism so severe that they are literally scarred horribly by the event. The people who have come up with these events are in California presumably driving, voting, and getting paid to come up with not only the idea but also the visual representation of this stuff. For gore buffs this would be the choicest job around.

The only sin recommitted is common for movies like this. Because you really aren’t intended to figure out how things happen, the movie has to sum it up again by a rapid retelling of the salient points where you SHOULD have noticed clues had they really been there. It is sort of a Cliff Notes for those with short attention spans.

I don’t think it is as gory as the first. It isn’t as suspenseful either, but that is the nature of a sequel of this kind.


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November 07, 2010
Leeches at least have some use in medical science. I can't say that the SAW flix have any discernible raison d'etre. =)
More Saw II reviews
review by . January 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****      "Saw II" is a sequel that really seems to make you appreciate whatever the original had to offer regardless of whether you actually liked it or not. "Saw", in my opinion, was a well constructed thriller. It placed two men in a sticky situation while in a tight space. What worked about it was that it was a bloody good time, packed with more thrills than I originally was led to expect. "Saw II", however, it a bloody disappointment. …
review by . May 24, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Tobin Bell, strange concept     Cons: some side characters overblown     The Bottom Line:   "Yes, that line forms on the right, babe  Now that Macky’s back in town … "  ~Kurt Weill/E. Bertolt Brecht/Marc Blitzstein     I admit I was intrigued with the original, Saw, but like many of these types of movies, the sheep following after aren’t nearly as bad as the original black sheep. I …
review by . May 15, 2009
Detective Mathews (Donnie Wahlberg) is a hard edge cop who has two things on his mind.  His son Daniel (Erik Knudsen) and the Jigsaw killer, whom he has a personal vendetta against.  Matthews, his fellow detective Allison (Dina Meyer) and the SWAT team leader Rigg (Lyriq Bent) have now cornered "Jigsaw" aka John Kramer (Tobin Bell).  During the raid upon his compound, three SWAT team members are severally maimed.  Matthews confronts the man called "Jigsaw" …
review by . November 08, 2008
As true to the horror genre as the first 'SAW', 'SAW II' brings us back to the bloody depths of Jigsaw's intriguing games and puzzles, where blood is the price you pay for not playing by the rules. I am as pleased with this sequel as I was with the original, bringing blood and horror back to horror where it belongs. Hopefully, 'SAW III' will rise from the ashes of this grisly phoenix to entertain horror aficionados again.     Detective Eric Matthews has cornered and caught John …
review by . February 25, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
What makes saw scarier and a better film than what's being released today is that it threatens more than your body; it threatens your mind too. What seems to scare people more than fake scary movies or make believe characters are people that are real and stories that feel even realer. In Saw it feels more possible for this to be done and this creates more fear and more thinking than you would get from a traditional scary movie. If you ask me Saw 2 is just as good as the first with the same intelligent …
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Paul Savage ()
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I name and describe everything and classify most things. If 'it' already had a name, the one I just gave it is better.
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About this movie


The second film of the Saw series.

Theatrical release was heavily edited to receive an R-rating.

Production on the film lasted 25 days.

In SAW, a huge horror hit in 2004, a masked man called Jigsaw orchestrated the kidnapping of two people, chained them in a disgusting bathroom in an abandoned warehouse, and played vicious, brutal mind games with them that potentially could lead to their freedom. Jigsaw is back for more gory fun in SAW II, but this time he comes out from behind the mask to terrorize a troubled cop face-to-face. Tobin Bell reprises his brief role as Jigsaw in the first film with a major starring turn in the sequel. Dying of cancer, Jigsaw lets himself get caught, only to show Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) that his son, Daniel (Erik Knudsen), has been taken hostage with seven other people, all of whom have been placed in a house of horrors with only the slimmest chance of escaping with their lives. Jigsaw promises Matthews that Daniel will live only if the cop follows the rules of the game, but time is running out, as the captives' bodies have been poisoned with a toxin that will soon destroy them. Meanwhile, i...
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