Not a Pretty Sight 

The deplorable Saw franchise is back—now in uninspiring 3-D!

As I write this review, it's Halloween, and I'm waiting on kids to come and take some of this damn candy out of the house. I bought three bags—consisting of Dots, Snickers and Hershey's bars—so it's pretty good stuff.

I recently moved to a new apartment complex, and I am on the third floor of a partly inhabited building, so there's no telling whether anybody will come by. Apartment complexes are always a crapshoot when it comes to trick-or-treaters, so I may be left holding a lot of candy, and that's the last thing I need!

Oh, yeah, Saw 3D is currently pissing all over screens at local movie houses, so I guess I should write a thing or two about that. The seventh installment in this seriously awful series is being touted as "The Final Chapter," but since that isn't in the movie's title, don't bank on it.

Actually, even if it were in the movie title, some dickwad somewhere would probably find a way to keep the Jigsaw legacy rolling, assuring that the lethargic Tobin Bell keeps getting paid for stupid cameo appearances.

After a nod to the original Saw (more on that later), we see a trio of unfortunates on display in some sort of plaza, encased in a see-through glass room, mere minutes away from getting done in by a table saw. I estimate the budget of this particular murder machine at $2.3 million, with a massive labor force essential to get the project complete. Of course, since this particular torture trap is in the middle of a city street, some law-enforcement fellow surely would've come along while it was being constructed and said something along the lines of, "Say, just what the heck is going on here?" and shut the whole thing down.

But, no, this is a Saw movie, and inexplicable stuff like this goes down all the time. And now, we get to watch the action in slapdash 3-D, a technology that is not put to good use in this film. The movie was shot with 3-D technology and not converted to 3-D in post-production, so I was hoping to see some decent splatter stuff. No such luck. The effects are cartoonish and bland, much like the acting of Cary Elwes.

Yes, Elwes, he who sawed off his leg (in hilariously bad fashion) for the original Saw, has an extended cameo, and it's not a pretty sight. We first see him in a flashback to the first chapter, in which his character is dragging himself away from Jigsaw's original puzzle, with blood gushing from his leg stump. He has a few more scenes, and there is nothing surprising about his actions.

Bell does make one of his now-patented flashback Jigsaw appearances, this time at a book-signing with a baseball cap turned backward to make him look like an inconspicuous fan. He says a bunch of cryptic stuff to Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery), a supposed Jigsaw survivor cashing in on the experience with a tell-all tomé. Pretty much anybody listening to Bell drone on would realize that this must be the famed Jigsaw killer and tackle him for reward money, but instead, Jigsaw just says a bunch of dopey shit and wanders off.

As for franchise characters like evil detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and Jigsaw's widow, Jill (Betsy Russell), they figure largely in the film's sorry excuse for a plot. They both have to deal with those steel-jaw contraptions. (Estimated steel-jaw budget for Jigsaw and his successors: $7.2 million. Where do these killers get the funding for their contraptions?).

Do I believe that this will be the last time I have to write a Saw review? Hell no. And no kids showed up for candy, either. Halloween really sucked this year.

Saw 3D
Rated R · 91 minutes · 2010
Official Site: www.saw3dmovie.com
Director: Kevin Greutert
Producer: Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules, Mark Burg, Troy Begnaud, Daniel Heffner, Peter Block, Jason Constantine, James Wan, Leigh Whannell and Stacey Testro
Cast: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Sean Patrick Flanery, Cary Elwes, Chad Donella, Gina Holden, Chester Bennington, Rebecca Marshall, Naomi Snieckus, Dean Armstrong, Laurence Anthony, James Van Patten and Jon Cor


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