Director: Kevin Greutert
Starring: Sean Patrick Flannery, Cary Elwes, Betsy Russell, Costas Mandylor, Chad Donella and one brief scene with Tobin Bell
As I mentioned in the previous piece there were at least a Saw VII and VIII planned while VI was in production. Following the box office decline (no folks, it did not "bomb" as gets thrown around), Lionsgate decided to try and stitch those two together and go all out for one final run. The budget would be up'd and they'd go for broke with a 3-D film to end things. Also coming back on board for the big finale was the star of the first Saw, Cary Elwes. The big marketing ploy for this one was "The Traps Come Alive!" and the trailers focused not on the movie, but on people watching the film in theaters. Heck, they even drop the Roman numerals for it to appear as accessible as possible to get as many people in seats as they could.
Dropping David Hackl and bringing Kevin Greutert back seemed like the right move at the time due to what each brought with V and VI. However, things went kind of oh so wrong with this one, its almost inconceivable. On this viewing, the film wasn't nearly as bad as I remember it being, but wow its a jump off a cliff from the last film. What happened? Who's to blame? Was it the fact they crammed two screenplays together? Was Greutert peeved that he had his contract option exercise after he was already set to go on another film? The guy literally started directing the day after he was flown in and given a screenplay to read.
Saw 3-D (Since redubbed the ultra lame title of Saw: The Final Chapter on home video) is the schlockiest, sloppiest and silliest Saw film around. While this film does directly relate to everything before, it sort of feels two towns over in just its feel compared to the other movies. For one, the film looks really different. We see big shots of outside and everything is suddenly really bright in the film by comparison. There was a scene where blood looked really giallo pink. I don't know if that's the 3-D camera's doing or if its the fact this is the first film in the entire run to be shot by a different cinematographer. It just looks and feels different in a very loose and goofy way.
This Saw truly features traps and stuff that don't relate to anything. Our opening sequence actually puts traps on full display for the public in broad daylight. And there's really no relation or relevance to it anywhere else in the film. Then there's the trap with the Linkin Park guy and I know that crime scene is integral to the film, but what sort of relevance do any of these people have to anything. Its just pointless slaughter for more 3-D intestines to fly at the screen. And just going after skinheads "because" feels like the series has run out of ideas. We'll get to all that violence stuff in a little bit, but for now, this stuff is just superfluous.
We also get our fourth "man running through challenges" type film and directly following another and at this point its a little bit tiresome even if there are some elaborate set pieces. And really the end of it has no real resolution aside from "there, now you've done it." It does boast the biggest name actor to be in one of these movies since Saw III in Sean Patrick Flannery, so I guess they were pulling out all the stops here. And the storyline is our only moment with Tobin Bell in the entire film. Saw VI truly was the original Jigsaw's swan song, and this movie is all about final putting a stop to the psychopathic ways of Hoffman.
Speaking of Hoffman, apparently the writers and such could tell how uninteresting this guy was compared to Tobin Bell because his part in has been scaled back in both entries since V. He's a complete lunatic killing machine in this movie. There is a sequence that is great in its idea, but hilarious in its execution where he goes person to person in a police station stabbing them the EXACT SAME way in the next each time. I mean, we have no choice but to laugh right? And double edged sword, we finally get to see the franchise iconic bear trap succeed, but it does away with Jill who I was kind of rooting for to kill off Hoffman.
I know you guys are probably really wanting me to grill and dig into Gibson and the performance by Chad Donella, but I'm not going to. Its a popular topic among the discussion of the film as I've come to find out. I actually knew the guy for a few years when I lived in Burbank and I was pretty happy to see him land one of the big leads in the film. Having said that, and to the comments and thoughts you probably have about the character and Chad's performance of it, I'll just leave you with a "Oh yeah, I know...and I agree" ;)
How much more effective would the end of this film been had Cary Elwes been kept a damn secret? We open up with him then he disappears, then comes back a little more into the film for a brief second and disappears until the very end. How are we not supposed to suspect he'll be a surprise player in the end? The twist and going back and showing us his involvement it cool and works as a good closing note for the series, but if you're anybody who's seen a Saw movie or two you know this is coming. But what else would you expect from this silly, clunky movie?
Saw 3-D is just a poorly executed production from start to finish. Its almost some really bad joke when you're watching it. Its got this loose and goofy vibe that none of the other films carry. Its weird, because while its bad, there is enough garbage schlock to make some parts of the film entertaining. And there were times during this movie that I was at least enjoying some bad effects or laughing at some unintentionally funny moments that are factors in being entertaining that I couldn't say the same for during much of the boring Saw V. Whereas that film was just dull and boring, this one was on another spectrum of being bad. Its a shame that the series goes out on such a bad note like this, but then again, hey at least it was time to go. We'll always have Saw VI that does feel like good solid closure for a lot of it I suppose.