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Saw VI
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Captialism: A Blood Story"
1 stars

Once upon a time, there was a movie named “Saw” that was, at least up until its fairly disastrous last ten minutes, a reasonably interesting variation on the serial-killer genre that featured a creepy and unique visual style, a couple of interesting plot twists and a number of memorably gruesome set-pieces involving the fiendishly elaborate torture devices designed by its villain, the mysterious and creepy Jigsaw, to ensnare and educate those people that he felt were wasting the precious gift of life. The film became a cult hit and soon spawned a cottage industry that would see to the yearly production of a new installment of the franchise in time to flood multiplexes in the days leading up to Halloween. Of course, to keep up with such a killer pace, some things needed to be discarded and so while the subsequent installments made sure to include plenty of nasty and graphic scenes of torture and bloodletting, they chose to eschew the creepy look and intriguing plot twists--the elements that require a certain degree of time, talent and finesse to achieve--in exchange for a murky visual style and a murkier narrative approach that would grow more and more inexplicable with each subsequent films; Jigsaw would continue to be the central character despite being killed off decisively at the end of “Saw 3” while barely remembered plot details from the earlier films would wind up appearing front and center in the later ones in ways that ensured that you not only needed to see all the previous entries before watching the newest one, you had to watch all of them maybe five minutes beforehand if you wanted to have even a shot at understanding what the hell was going on. In a move that will shock no one, “Saw VI” continues to follow this increasingly convoluted formula to a T--it might as well since the series has yet to lose enough steam to warrant any changes-- and the nicest thing that you can say about it is that it isn’t quite as contemptuous of its audience as the incredibly lazy and unnecessary “Saw V” was. In other words, it is just as useless and repellent as the other sequels but at least the filmmakers put a little more effort into it this time around.

Set in the immediate aftermath of “Saw V”--I will spare you a recap on the grounds that it wouldn’t make any sense if I did and because I am assuming that anyone who has read this far presumably has some firm grasp of the ins and outs of the saga (possibly more so than I possess)--Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is still dead and his secret accomplice, mush-mouthed cop Lt. Hoffman (Costas Mandaylor), still carrying on his absurdly complex work of teaching hapless individuals morality lessons via the deployment of torture devices that are so elaborately contrived that Rube Goldberg would have pushed for design simplification. This time around, the target of Jigsaw’s posthumous wrath is William (Peter Outerbridge), a sleazy insurance agency bigwig who, with the aid of his crack staff of heartless Yuppie scum, has saved his company millions of dollars over the years by figuring out a way of denying claims whenever the policy holders, including Jigsaw himself, have the audacity to take ill. While William is running through the various hoops set up for him, all of which involve him saving or sacrificing his underlings, Hoffman is trying to clear up the loose ends regarding his involvement, which include Jigsaw’s widow (Betsy Russell), an ambitious reporter (Samantha Lemole) and at least one character previously assumed to have shuffled off this mortal coil I wouldn’t dream of revealing what happens next to the various characters--between the relentless flashbacks and cross-cutting, I probably couldn’t give you an adequate summary if you demanded one at gunpoint--except to point out that by the time the end credits roll, very few of them are still around to take notice.

Of course, no one goes to a movie like “Saw VI” for the plotting, except to see how Cubist the narrative structure has become over the years in the effort to continue to include a central character who definitively died three sequels ago. No, the reason that people will presumably be rushing out to see it this weekend (unless they are distracted by the equally idiotic “Paranormal Activity”) is to see what grisly and elaborately violent set-pieces the filmmakers have dreamed up this time around. Unfortunately, while the red stuff flows as freely as ever, the grisly gruesomeness on display in the original has devolved into the blandest bloodshed imaginable. Two predatory lenders are forced to cut off portions of their own bodies (you know, a pound of their own flesh, just like Shakespeare and the dude from “Seven”) in order to avoid getting their skulls crushed with screws. Another pair of unlucky types is hooked up to oxygen machines that crush their chests with every breath that they take. Another is forced to run through a maze in which she is hit with painful bursts of steam until her skull is eventually smashed open for her troubles while someone else is messily dissolved by acid. Outside of a murder-go-round in which William is allowed to save only two of his six sleaziest underlings, the kill scenes are so rote and repetitive that when it finally gets to the big climax, the film winds up simply reusing one of the more memorable devices from the first one. Considering the fact that the entire point of this series is to come up with wildly original kill scenes, the lack of any real ingenuity in this regard is likely to annoy whatever fans the series has managed to retain over the years.

The one intriguing aspect of “Saw VI,” and I use the term loosely, is the way that it cravenly uses the economic and health care crises as story fodder. Who knows--having rejected seeing these problems depicted on the screen in documentaries like “Capitalism: A Love Story,” perhaps the moviegoing public will be more willing to accept them as cinematic fare in the context of a boneheaded horror film along these lines. If nothing else, it suggests that if Tobin Bell ever decided to leave the series and the role of Jigsaw behind for good, the producers could potentially replace him with the likes of Keith Olbermann--a notion infinitely more terrifying than anything else on display here.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18531&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/23/09 05:09:38
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User Comments

9/24/17 morris campbell the saw blade is getting dull 2 stars
1/20/10 Stanley Thai It's a decent addition to the series and the fans of the series will definitely like it. 3 stars
1/11/10 dan Saw VI was awesome and totally redeemed itself from sawV 5 stars
12/20/09 Debra I was very disapointed i give it 3 3 stars
12/05/09 Henry Flowers This film rocked. 5 stars
11/28/09 Aaron Commareri This theme is getting old 2 stars
10/28/09 Roy Smith You really have ot know the Saw series to 'get it' 3 stars
10/28/09 Dudebro Documentaries like Capitalism: A Love Story, are horridly biased and stupid anyway. 5 stars
10/26/09 matt actually pretty damn good 5 stars
10/23/09 Capnjack I watched it at midnight, I thought it was fantastic. Different plot, different players, an 5 stars
10/23/09 indielilly best of all 6. Must see! 5 stars
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  23-Oct-2009 (R)
  DVD: 26-Jan-2010


  DVD: 26-Jan-2010

Directed by
  Kevin Greutert

Written by
  Marcus Dunstan
  Patrick Melton

  Tobin Bell
  Tanedra Howard

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