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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.32%
Worth A Look34.65%
Just Average: 11.02%
Pretty Crappy: 14.17%
Sucks: 22.83%

10 reviews, 67 user ratings

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Saw 2
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Audience 0"
1 stars

The original “Saw” didn’t exactly reinvent the gory horror film but it was a cut (not to mention hack, slash and gouge) above most of its genre contemporaries because it overcame its liabilities–the relative filmmaking inexperience of creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell and a necessarily tiny budget–with style, energy and a certain degree of fiendish imagination. It wasn’t perfect–most of the performances were pretty bad (Cary Elwes’s startlingly awful turn in the lead immediately went into the annals of bad acting history) and the final revelations about the killer were pretty much a cheat–but it was clever and cheerfully disgusting enough to become a surprise hit throughout the world. And because it was such a financial success, Lions Gate decided to rush-release a sequel into theaters less than a year after the original premiered. The result is the imaginatively-titled “Saw II” and it follows in the grand tradition of such other instant follow-ups as “Friday the 13th Part 2,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” “Scream 2" and “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”–it is little more than a more expensive retread that offers up more blood and a higher body count in an effort to distract from the utter lack of the suspense and originality of the first film.

For those of you who somehow missed it the first time around, the films revolve around a psychopath known as Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), a man who discovered a new zest for the preciousness of life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Instead of writing bad inspirational poetry, Jigsaw has a more direct method of getting through to those that he judges to be frittering away their existence–he kidnaps them and straps them to elaborately constructed torture devices (such as a “reverse bear trap” that tears off the wearer’s lower jaw if sprung) and offers them the chance to escape if they are willing to prove how much they truly want to live. (As the late Warren Zevon never quite said, “Enjoy every sandwich–or I’ll slice you up like a catfish!”) Frankly, it all seems like a lot of work and bother for any one man, especially one in the crippling throes of terminal cancer, to go through to preach to people he doesn’t even know and who have, for the most part, hurt no one but themselves. It seems to me that he really wanted to preach the sanctity of life while inflicting maximum pain, sending his victims the collected works of Leo Buscaglia would be both easier for him and far more painful for his prey.

After a pre-credits teaser showing someone struggling unsuccessfully through yet another trap–a spike-lined hood that slams down on the victim’s head like a Venus flytrap, “Saw II” opens as Jigsaw is apprehended in his lair by a burnt-out cop (Donnie Wahlberg) and his Jigasw-obsessed former partner Kerry (Dina Meyer). Of course, it is all a ruse devised by Jigsaw to lure the cops out so that he can reveal his true intentions: he has kidnapped eight strangers and locked them in a house that has been tricked out with elaborate booby traps and which is currently filling with poisonous nerve gas. For the eight–who include both Wahlberg’s estranged son (Eric Knudsen) and Amanda (Shawnee Smith), the lone survivor of the previous film–they have only two hours to work together to figure out how they are all connected and uncover the antidotes hidden throughout the house that will save them. At the same time, the cop-on-the-edge-with-his-own-dark-past has to sit down for long conversations with Jigsaw in which his own connection to all of the people in the room is gradually revealed.

As with the first film, the plot doesn’t really make a hell of a lot of sense when put under even the lightest analysis. At least with “Saw,” Wan and Whannell made an effort, mostly through a fractured narrative structure that only gradually revealed itself, to craft things in such a way that you didn’t realize how hollow the basic story was until it ended. The characters are barely sketched in and it is impossible to derive any sympathy for them because they act less like people and more like puppets who behave in exactly the way the plot requires in order for things to get from point A to point B. As for the confrontation between the cop and Jigsaw, it is equally non-compelling because neither actor has any of the fire that Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey brought to their similar scenes in “Seven”–Wahlberg is completely unlikable throughout while Bell does nothing but sitting around mumbling pseudo-profundities that seem to have been written by and for people who refuse to espouse any philosophical statement that can’t fit on a t-shirt.

Of course, the story is merely a rote clothesline upon which to hang the raison d’etre for the enterprise–the bloody set-pieces in which the dopes are decimated by the various booby traps. Great, except even those lack the invention displayed in the first film–there are more of them but their engineering strains the bounds of credulity more than ever. And even if you are willing to buy that he could somehow construct all of these intricate traps by himself, that still doesn’t explain how he was able to snag enough sarin gas to fill an entire house without anyone getting suspicious. Inevitably, “Saw II” ends much as the first one did–a completely implausible final twist that insists that we re-evaluate everything that we have already seen (unless you are one of the millions who is likely to spot the twist a mile away)while setting us up for the depressingly inevitable “Saw III.” Here’s my pitch for that film–a mad killer stalks a bunch of filmmakers who squander the lives of audience members throughout the world by conning them into wasting 90 precious minutes on boring and repetitive junk

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13441&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/28/05 00:43:12
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell the best in the series rough&raw 4 stars
8/24/16 Matt Gross but effective. 3 stars
4/05/16 Charles Tatum Wasn't much interested in the series after this sleepy sequel 3 stars
3/02/10 Stanley Thai I was expecting much more than just deaths and more people and twists. 2 stars
2/16/09 action movie fan a good sequel=interesting scary predicament 4 stars
10/27/08 Sugarfoot I liked this entry simply because I got to know Jigsaw and his victims. 4 stars
7/22/08 David V Decent enough, but it's too bad Jigsaw became a grandfather figure. 3 stars
10/24/07 lolz AAAAHH SCARY BUT FUNNY O.o 4 stars
3/20/07 Brandi Pranger awsome to watch 5 stars
3/17/07 Justin P Hated it, was the worst movie ever until Saw 3 came out 1 stars
12/07/06 Angel Chavez Better than the first! 5 stars
11/14/06 Drew Galletti Best one in the series 4 stars
11/09/06 Dark Enchantress i love the saw movies alot! This one was ok...it could of been better, but ok 5 stars
11/07/06 Divin' in Needles Two Saws Up 4 stars
11/06/06 Drew Best one in the trilogy 5 stars
11/02/06 David Pollastrini good gore. Beverly mitchel is hot! 5 stars
11/01/06 Patsyc I liked it. It was very suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat. 5 stars
10/29/06 Bitchflaps Really poor 1 stars
10/29/06 Anthony Feor It has bloody deaths, What else ya got? 2 stars
10/27/06 Teanna Wow this movie was awesome and took a surprising turn at the end. WAY BETTER THAN THE FIRST 5 stars
8/16/06 Stanley Thai It's a bad movie that took a HUGE drop from the original. 2 stars
8/01/06 dan no way near as good as saw 1 3 stars
7/23/06 Samuel Pretty F'n awesome...I still thought the origional was better, but this is a fine sequel... 4 stars
6/26/06 raul valdez Jr as good as the first but not better 5 stars
6/04/06 katie A really great movie and just a little bit better than the first one. 5 stars
4/25/06 Logan Horberg This movie kicked so much ass! 5 stars
4/23/06 curtis it was pretty good i liked it....i like the 1st one too 4 stars
4/03/06 Mike Amazing,unpredictable,couldn't have guessed the ending if I tried,cant wait for saw 3 5 stars
3/17/06 Indrid Cold Less coherent and interesting than the original, but still decent Hollywood horror. 3 stars
2/26/06 Danny Not nearly as suspensful as the first one, but still pretty good for a horror film. 4 stars
2/19/06 B "Stylish" sadism = cool!!! So do pseudo-philosophical one-liners and absurd plot twists!!! 1 stars
2/18/06 Elisabeth Eagle Was a great movie in my opinion 5 stars
2/15/06 Rebecca D. Brothers It was an awesome movie with plenty of gore and suspense! Way better than the 1st. 5 stars
1/03/06 alice nothing new 3 stars
12/31/05 metalhead I didn't see the first one so I can't compare them, but i thought it was ok. 4 stars
12/12/05 Mike First was OK B-Movie, this one makes Cube Zero look like Oscar winning material. 1 stars
11/25/05 CONSTANTINE ONCE AGAIN... AWESOME, may've had a few plot, but makes up for it in the end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/21/05 Kurtis J. Beard Stay away. Stay very far away. I wouldn't touch this film again with a 10 ft pole. 1 stars
11/20/05 Stewart Amen, Jason Whyte. This movie only exists to promote pornographic violence. Evil garbage! 1 stars
11/20/05 Evil Wolfie Haha. She fell into a pit full of syringes. 4 stars
11/19/05 Bestit I liked the first (good, not great), but this one was just total crap. 1 stars
11/19/05 Moctezuma I thought it was great 5 stars
11/17/05 malcolm repulsive but fun. actually reminded me more of 'Cube' than 1st 'Saw.' 3 stars
11/17/05 Jabber Crappy, uninspired sequel. Lame-as-hell. 1 stars
11/17/05 CONSTANTINE AWESOME, Enjoyable as the 1st! Shawnee Smith was HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/16/05 Littlepurch Not as gd as the first but stil loved it.Clever ending, as ever, and Jigsaw was v menacing. 4 stars
11/15/05 Adrian Enough for fans of the first to be happy, but it doesn't live up to Saws novelty factor. 4 stars
11/14/05 JC This movie is not a fucking horror movie!!!! It's more like a suspense. 5 stars
11/12/05 cypress loved it, i would have preferred a different ending, but great movie! 5 stars
11/12/05 kanita ruined the 1st one like most sequels...vry stupid twist looked like they just bsed the end 2 stars
11/11/05 Dan Smith As good as the first, just in a spine tingling different way. 5 stars
11/06/05 blowsky how can anyone like this crap, looks like 7th graders wrote it 1 stars
11/05/05 jeff not as good as first. 3 stars
11/04/05 ew a good film 4 stars
11/03/05 Meryl I love you, screenwriters of the SAW series. I love you. 5 stars
11/03/05 Agent Sands Not nearly as scary or well-written as the original. But it is VERY GORY, which is good. 4 stars
11/03/05 Lowell Sucked big, fat, hairy donkey nuts!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/01/05 Roy Smith A minor drop from the orginal not a plummet like Ring 2. 4 stars
11/01/05 me a great film 4 stars
11/01/05 Skellington I like this the first time I saw it...when it was called CUBE!!! 2 stars
11/01/05 jcjs funny but no one was laughing, stupider than one, Tobin neat, great for 3rd graders 4 stars
10/29/05 bff a great film 4 stars
10/29/05 Jake Weinberg has no taste. Saw II is "worth a look"? Umm...no. 2 stars
10/29/05 Jacobee SAW TWO IS OFF DA CHAIN!!! 5 stars
10/28/05 Crumbcake brianorndorf gave ELIZABETHTOWN five stars...that says it all. 5 stars
10/28/05 Darren Shea A worthy sequel. It trades much of the stark creepiness of Saw for a more complex story 4 stars
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  28-Oct-2005 (R)
  DVD: 24-Oct-2006



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