Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Jigsaw’s Corrupt Assistant
The greatest part about watching a series back-to-back is clarity. Some movies, like the Saw series, kind of get tangled in a knot of a chronological disaster…at least watching them only once a year. So much happens, and because the series likes to keep everything tied together, it ventures back in time, and reminds you of the other films. The problem with that is…that’s a lot of information that you have to keep logged in your mind. If you watch the movies back-to-back, you are able to really understand everything that is going on. So, Saw III again changes things up, but for the better? In some regards, but primarily no.
Our focus today is on Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) who was tasked by Jigsaw and his current companion, Amanda, to keep Jigsaw alive. As we have learned from other films in the series, Jigsaw has terminal cancer. To give her motivation, Amanda slaps a trap to Lynn’s head that is linked to Jigsaws heart monitor. He flat lines, her head explodes. Of course, there is also a regular game going on at the same time. That’s the whole point of Dr. Denlon keeping Jigsaw alive, to keep him alive until Jeff (Angus Macfadyen) finishes his game. Jeff’s game revolves around getting vengeance for the man that killed his son in a hit-and-run accident. His “games” were to decide whether or not to save people that played a part in his son’s death.
The big difference in this movie relied pretty heavily on Jigsaw, not the game. Sure, there was a game going on, but that wasn’t the central focus. The main difference in the game was more on the “live or die, make your choice” aspect. In previous installments, the victims didn’t really have a choice, because dying isn’t much of a choice. Their only choice was to hurt themselves to be free. In this, I can respect the psychological and valid decision-making implemented here…to save, or not to save the person that hurt you the most.
By making it more psychologically intriguing…it lost all sense of danger. Sure, we still have traps going on, but Jeff literally had the ability to do absolutely nothing, shed no blood, and get away. Sure…unethical…but dumb nonetheless! Therefore, you can’t care about the character or his whole…vengeful father story. They did change it up a little more, which was to have one player going through the board game-type test. Each victim had a tape recorder with an additional message for Jeff. That was done differently…but who cares?
Another difference, and central focus to this movie, was Amanda. She was hugely important in this film, as we just recently found out that she was involved in the Jigsaw killings. Furthermore, it really showcases how messed up in the head she is, versus how calm and intelligent Jigsaw is. She makes Jigsaw look like the nicest man in the world. You see, Jigsaw allows his players to leave the gaming arena if they win his games. Amanda sets brutal and cold traps that people can’t get out of, even if they beat the test. That was new, and definitely needed to be dealt with.
So there was a lack of danger with Jeff, that much we’ve established. However, danger wasn’t an issue on Jigsaw’s side of the story, and that’s what is important. There was a very believable sense of danger Anything could happen, anything at all, and you are glued when the good doctor is cutting into Jigsaw’s brain…it’s like an episode of House! A very…violent and gory episode of House…
Here’s the problem, as the level of realism lessens and torture rises, as does my confusion and disappointment. Why these people don’t just pass out from the pain is beyond me, because that would be beyond reasonable, and…unavoidable in reality. I guess the focus was just on the level of creativity for murder…and we’re only at part three. You know what that tells me? That tells me that this is the start of when people started to go to the theater only to see more creative ways to kill someone. We’re not completely at that point yet, but that started here.
Which traps are memorable in this one? Actually a lot. Everyone will remember the trap with the chains that pull a person’s limbs apart, the rib trap, frozen lady, and limb twister. How about the twist ending…memorable as always? No, the twist ending was probably the weakest out of the bunch, but at least they changed things up and added a cliffhanger, which was fun. Another nice thing about this film was tying both the first and second one to the third…including Jigsaw and Amanda setting up the events for the first film. That was neat.
Saw III lost a good sense of its realism, so it obviously doesn’t feel as real. However, Tobin Bell is an amazing actor, and he still has great stage presence. He is able to deliver his performance once again. The torture traps are still very memorable and cleverly written. It should be noted, however, the steady decline of where Saw originated. They are losing their mission fast. Can they regain it? I guess we’ll find out.