I first watched Saw V over a month ago at midnight, the night before it’s opening. The room was full of people that cheered during the bloodletting, I wasn’t nearly as thrilled. (You know it’s bad when you were more thrilled watching the Friday the 13th trailer reboot!)
The only way Saw V can properly be reviewed is to compare it to the other Saw films, because as movies they really in no way stand on their own. Where one leaves off the next picks up right from. Only now there’s so little story to tell they have to wrap back around on themselves and fill in the blanks from all of the other movies so the current model can make any sort of sense. And why this loop-de-loop style of storytelling, one because they are very good storytellers. Two, because they killed their title character Jigsaw, played by the wonderful Tobin Bell (who lends an actorly spark to a series that in no way deserves it) two episodes ago. That’s right, Jigsaw is only seen through a number of flashbacks given to us in that Memento style of parallel storytelling.
That being said Saw V is extremely better than Saw IV, but nothing holds the weight of the Donnie Walberg plot of Part II or the interesting Doctor plot in Part III. Like Part II we’re introduced to another group of cattle who will all be killed in glorified ways. There are some clever devices, and the acting is better than II, but in the end these scenarios are tedious because they have nothing to do with the time-bending plot as we are shown how the previous 3 films could have actually (sensically) existed.
Where Part II and III showed us the rise and fall of a potential replacement to Jigsaw, Part V continues the story of the “true” replacement Jigsaw actually was training all along! Jigsaw has so many replacements to throw the police off the track as well as us!
In this the hero is a cop who is far more clever than this new Jigsaw inductee as he’s able to survive the first trap he falls into. And the cat and mouse begins as he brings forth all of the flashbacks for us to see. Inevitably he figures out who the bad guy is, but does the promise of the posters hold true, “You’ll never believe how it ends.” Not really. The “surprise” endings are no longer surprising, because you know the good guy is going to make the “wrong” decision and end up getting killed for it, in a nasty and silly way. There are so many loop holes in the Jigsaw psychology now that it’s not even worth talking about at length.
Jigsaw target those that need to be taught a lesson. The lead character in this film, what had he done wrong…absolutely nothing. In fact, he’s such a great guy the only thing he has going against him is the fact that he knows who the bag guy is. This really isn’t even a Saw movie anymore. Once the Jigsaw clan kills someone without reason, I as a viewer lose what little caring power I had left, because then it’s just blood for bloods sake. I don’t want to see good people get torn to shreds, they have nothing to learn from the experience!
A movie that’s hinged all on it’s editing style will take that final Darwinian leap to it’s final form, as the sixth installment is being directed by the editor of the last several installments. My hopes aren’t high. Actually, that’s probably a good thing.