Combustible Celluloid
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With: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Cary Elwes, Sean Patrick Flanery, Chad Donella, Gina Holden, Laurence Anthony, Dean Armstrong, Naomi Snieckus, Rebecca Marshall, James Van Patten, Sebastian Pigott, Jon Cor, Anne Lee Greene
Written by: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan
Directed by: Kevin Greutert
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language
Running Time: 90
Date: 10/21/2010

Saw 3D (2010)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Slayed by Blade

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Note: This is my first Saw film since the original Saw (2004), but I was able to follow along without much trouble.

Jigsaw's widow Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) begins by trying to kill Jigsaw's current disciple Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), but fails. She then agrees to provide the police with all the information they need in exchange for protection. Meanwhile, Jigsaw survivor Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery) has published a successful book about his ordeal, but the killer knows the truth, and so he is tested with an elaborate series of gory traps involving his beloved wife, and all his various handlers. For "fun," there are a couple of random, gruesome traps that have nothing to do with the rest of the plot. Chad Donella plays an Internal Affairs detective trying to solve the whole thing. Tobin Bell appears in flashbacks as the original Jigsaw.

In its defense, Saw 3D does occasionally attempt to rise above the typical "torture porn" genre entry. The killers act out of a sense of duty, and all their victims are "guilty" in some way of some transgression. Additionally, the series has built up a complex lore around the original Jigsaw and his followers. And the traps themselves are incredibly elaborate; it's difficult for a viewer to predict just what they're going to do. The movie does manage to create a certain amount of tension around these things.

Unfortunately, the movie also thrives on extreme, ghastly gore as its primary motivation, and all other concerns are secondary; in essence, it's more an endurance test than it is a movie. On a pure, technical level, the writing, and directing are strictly "C"-level, and the acting -- with the exception of Cary Elwes -- isn't much better.

Note: This is being released on home video as Saw: The Final Chapter.

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