Funny, how perceptions change. "Saw VI" is pretty much the same film we've seen five times before, and yet, to my shock and amazement (and probably to yours as well), I found that I didn't hate or even dislike this movie. It's not good enough to recommend, but it's also not the terrible experience I had been expecting. My written reviews for "Saw IV" and "Saw V" were filled with animosity, mostly because the whole thing seemed like another case of sequel overload stemming from a horror film that wasn't all that good to begin with. For once, we have a "Saw" film that attempts to engage the audience, not only through a few clever revelations, but also through a none-too-subtle commentary on current political issues. It doesn't always succeed, but this time, I could tell that an effort was actually being made.
All the same, it still suffers from a lot of the previous film's problems. I've never understood or agreed with the idea of continuing the story when the main antagonist, John Kramer, a.k.a. Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), has already died. When not shown in flashback, we see police lieutenant Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) overseeing Jigsaw's "master plan." Can you imagine a "Nightmare on Elm Street" film in which Freddy Kruger is seen only in flashback? While someone else slices people open with razorblades for fingers? Never mind. There's also the fact that this is by no means a scary movie--it's impossible to be genuinely frightened by situations this preposterous. The gore is plentiful, and while I can't say I had been expecting anything less, I never really enjoyed looking at it. The story, while interesting, is also convoluted and hard to follow, with far too many subplots interwoven throughout.
The central conflict involves William Easton (Peter Outerbridge), the sleazy executive of a health insurance company who grants or denies coverage based on the probability of a person's illness. In essence, he chooses who lives and who dies. Unfortunately, it's for this very reason that he ended up on Kramer's short list of people to be "rehabilitated," and he soon finds himself trapped in yet another series of elaborate and painful traps, each more implausible than the last. In one, six of his junior co-workers find themselves chained to a rotating carousel, which periodically stops in front of a loaded shotgun; Easton has the power to prevent only two of them from getting blasted, so it becomes a matter of choosing who will live and who will die.
Also trapped in Jigsaw's lair is Pamela Jenkins (Samantha Lemole), a shady reporter, and a mother and son (Shauna MacDonald and Devon Bostick) who, for reasons I won't reveal, share a connection with Easton. They wake up in a room rigged with a tank of hydrofluoric acid and a switchbox with the words "live" and "die" written on it.
Another subplot, this one involving Kramer's widow, Jill Tuck (Betsey Russell), sheds some light on who she is and just how much she knew about her husband's extracurricular activities. I can't say I was completely satisfied with what was revealed, but hey, at least I got to see the contents of the box she was given in the last movie. We also learn a bit more about Kramer's oldest apprentice, Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), and her strained affiliation with Hoffman.
In the final subplot, The FBI, led by Dan Erikson (Mark Rolston) and a surprise survivor, are actively trying to discover the identity of the person continuing the Jigsaw killings. Hoffman tries to misdirect them by planting physical evidence linked to the late Peter Strahm. But the more Erikson and his team learn about Strahm, the less sense his involvement makes. One need only listen to the tone of Hoffman's voice to know that he's the culprit, but, unfortunately, convention dictates that law enforcement in horror movies know as little as possible until it's too late. Otherwise, the filmmakers wouldn't have an excuse to include more scenes of violent, bloody torture.
And what of that? "Saw VI" opens with two predatory lenders in a Jigsaw trap, one they can only survive by ... well, let's just say it's similar in principle to "The Biggest Loser," where the winner is the one who sheds the most pounds. Later on, someone melts before our eyes after being injected with lethal doses of acid. Some are shot, leaving gaping holes in their chests, while others have their heads impaled. I realize that the fans get a kick out of this, but really, isn't there a point where enough is enough? Fortunately, this movie takes the time to include more compelling story ideas, such as a flashback sequence in which Kramer astutely observes what most of us already know: Here in America, health is not determined by patients or doctors, but by insurance companies.
The ending is the film's biggest miscalculation. The final five minutes play like an editing free-for-all, with revelations, flashbacks, lines of dialogue, and gruesome shots all merged together in a frenetic visual nightmare. It's so densely packed that it soon becomes impossible to figure out what's being revealed and why. In spite of this, it was still more thrilling than the ending to last year's film, which as advertised as being shocking beyond belief but didn't deliver as such. So there you have it. "Saw VI," while not a great movie, at least shows signs that the series is heading in the right direction. For a horror movie, at least. If this trend continues, who knows what could happen? Maybe I'll actually recommend "Saw VII."
**1/2 out of **** "Saw V" nearly convinced me to give up on the "Saw" franchise for good. It was a film so bad that I couldn't bear it; a blood-and-guts "thrill-ride" without thrills. And then there was this part of me saying, "Screw the possibilities. Let's watch "Saw VI" for the hell of it". And as I watched it, I expected nothing more or less than an improvement on "Saw V". And you know what; I was not wrong to predict the decent but worthwhile outcome. "Saw VI" is an … more
Pros: On its own, not much; as part of its series, pretty good Cons: Acting, story is preachy The Bottom Line: Recommended with significant reservations: you have to like gore and probably should see at least one other Saw movie for context. Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. I've seen all of the Saw movies, which has been more regrettable, in for a penny in for a pound, … more
The first film in the franchise to take on topical current events, Jigsaw's assault on Mortgage Lenders and HMOs will give a new meaning to "ARM Loans" and deliver Health Care Reform you can believe in!
I am an avid Saw fan, so this was a greatly anticipated film in the series for me. It picks up right where the last one left off, and wraps up the series. There is always room for more but this is a nice closure film for Saw. I love the plot twists, as always, and the new torture devices! A great bonus I was unaware it came with, a copy of Saw 1! So you get two movies for the price of one. Highly recommended!
Saw Vi picks up where he last film ended. Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) has seemingly cut all ties that connect him to anything dealing with Jigsaw/John Kramer (Tobin Bell). A new murder has been commited in a similar fashion to the Jigsaw slaying but the FBI has noticed a minute difference in this case. Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) has received a box from her dead ex-husband John (shown in part five) and it's contents are revealed. A new game is to be played, … more
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Saw VI is directed by Kevin Greutert, who has been the editor on all the past Saw films to date. Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the writers for both Saw IV and V, have returned to write Saw VI.
TheSawseries gains a commendable hint of social conscience with this sixth entry in the gleefully gruesome franchise. That's not to say that the creators have abandoned the films' main focus--dealing out hideous punishments for wrongdoers, courtesy its antihero, John Kramer/Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), who remains very dead as of this film--but screenwriters Marcus Dunston and Patrick Melton (who have penned everySawpic sinceIV) deserve a note of recognition for pointing Jigsaw's moral fury at the insurance industry, which is personified by key victim Peter Outerbridge's oily exec. His decision to deny Kramer an experimental cancer treatment (all told in flashback) lands him and a handful of additional lost souls (all connected, of course) in yet another Rube Goldbergian chamber of horrors overseen by Jigsaw's acolyte, Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). The improbability of the infernal machines continues to reach hysterical levels here, though the payoffs remain exceptionally gross, especially in the opener, which plays on the Shakespearean "pound of flesh" riff with spectacularly nauseating results. Aside from the insurance angle, there's little to differentiateSaw VIfrom its predecessors, and precious less to convince the nonfaithful that the series ...