Saw 2

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Saw 2
Review (8/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Saw II is the much anticipated sequel to last year's sleeper hit, Saw, which was filmed in something like 18 days and made more than $100 million worldwide. That's pretty damn good if you ask me. Saw II, which apparently was shot in 25 days, features the return of the innovative (and yet demented) serial killer Jigsaw, who feels the need to take it upon himself to torture and usually murder various lowlifes so they will learn to appreciate their crummy lives. This time around, Jigsaw has assembled a gang of social misfits and criminals in a decrepit old house that is leaking poisonous gas and is littered with deadly booby-traps and of course, video cameras so he can see everything that is happening to his victims. As in Saw, the hostages are left a series of tapes that give them clues as to how they are supposed to figure out how to get out of the house or get the antidote for the poison. Unfortunately, for this to happen, and as Jigsaw so proudly points out, "there will be blood". I realize this is kind of a sketchy synopsis of this movie but I really don't want to get into too many details. It's better to go into the movie knowing as little as possible.

My first conclusion about Saw II would be this - if you liked Saw, chances are you will like the sequel. They are very similar movies. There are things I liked more about Saw and things I liked about Saw II. Obviously, because they are similar movies, a lot of the shock value is gone when you see the sequel. But at the same time, this movie has some new and interesting twists and turns, some of which I saw coming a mile away and others which I didn't see coming at all. I thought the first movie did a better job of giving the background of the characters and the kidnappings of the victims. This movie did not do that and some people may be fine with that but I would have liked a little background information. It did, however, give us more insight into Jigsaw's life and his motives.

Some other observations - the acting for the most part was so-so. Some, like Tobin Bell (Jigsaw) and Donnie Wahlberg (who plays a homocide detective) were okay, others, like the big muscle-headed dolt, were not. Our friend from, John Fallon (aka. The Arrow), also appears in the movie and even gets a couple of lines, so kudos to him on a fine job. I see an Oscar in the future.

The gore in the movie was top notch. There was more than one scene that made me cringe and almost, but not quite, look away. I think I started to look away but had to stop because I didn't want to miss what was going to happen next.

The police in Saw II weren't very smart as well, which is pretty much par for the course in horror/gore movies. You wonder how they would ever be expected to catch a teenage shoplifter, let alone a psychopath like Jigsaw. And their interrogation methods left little to be desired. They needed a Jack Bauer-type to kick some ass and inflict some good old-fashioned police torture on the criminals. Yes, there was a beating but it wasn't nearly as effective as Bauer would have been.

Nevertheless, despite the movie's few shortcomings, Saw II is still a worthy sequel. It is gruesome, it keeps you guessing, it has some interesting twists and turns and it has a decent story. I wouldn't say it is a better movie than Saw but it is certainly one of the better movies of this genre that I have seen since Saw. Just don't go into this movie expecting anything too far off the beaten and path from the first movie and you should be fine. Hopefully by the time Saw III comes around, and it will come around, they can take this movie franchise to the next level, whatever or however that may be.


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