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"Survival of the fittest my ass! "

Oct 8th, 2009

I've been dragging my feet in reviewing this entry in the franchise, slowly working my way through the series before the newest entry is released. I picked up my copy on DVD and then placed it back down no matter how much I try, I hate this entry.

When the fourth concluded **SPOILER WARNING** with the revelation that the entire movie ran parallel with Saw 3 I was floored. Not being the biggest fan of the film, but damn that was great, and I looked forward to the new film in that it was a sequel to both 3 and 4 chronologically.

Over the course of the movies questions have been raised without fully adequate answers, what was in the envelope that Jigsaw left for Amanda? How is Jigsaw's wife involved? Is she evil? Saw 5 gave us nothing! The whole movie seems to want to us to route for Hoffman in his quest to become the new Jigsaw killer. There's just one problem, he's as boring as shit.

The plot of this one is weak; Hoffman emerges from the warehouse massacre with Jeff's daughter from the ending of Part 3 (why was this not left the way it was, it ruins my whole love for the way 3 ended) to make himself a hero in the eyes of the police. Why is this needed? It's never explained. Unfortunately for him agent Strahm also survived the ordeal and for no good reason suspects Hoffman of being Jigsaw's accomplice. Cue a cat and mouse game as Hoffman plays his first game on his own.

I always thought the idea of there being two accomplices was a poor idea. I know many who hated Amanda's character (I loved her bring her back) just because she was meant to replace Jigsaw, a character everyone loves. But with her death we are left with a character that can't live up to either one of their personalities, Hoffman lacks emotion.

There are flashback scenes initiated through agent Strahm's investigation, how in the hell did they help him? He wasn't there, how could he of known what happened? This is how we get Jigsaw into the picture and reveals how Hoffman meet him, but its all rather dull and fells like a retread of the setup for Amanda in the third film.

The cast sucks in the acting department, Costas Mandylor plays Hoffman and appears to be making no effort in the role followed by the fact that Scott Patterson who plays Strahm (please just go back to Gilmore Girls) is equal devoid of human emotion. It really is a struggle to tell the two apart when on screen together. Julie Benz and Megan Good were wasted; any no-name actor could have fulfilled these roles. Tobin Bell, however, does what he can with the material he has, well done sir.

Ok, we've established that I don't like this film but there must be something worthy, how bought the kills? Well personally I wasn't impressed, the traps were uninspired; the last film was a bit over the top but they were more entertaining than this slop. The gore isn't all that high either – there's a decapitation and an arm severed to the elbow but explosions and electrocutions are not my bag, not only that but the setup in this one is awful. The characters are boring I didn't care who lived or died, especially when the main game has absolutely nothing to do with the side story of Hoffman and Strahm, it's just a random selection of people. When the twist of the game was "finally" revealed it was hardly surprising especially when they were informed of it at the start of the game, the lack of suspense in this one is amazing.

This is one of those times when I have to discuss the twist ending in this one so if you haven't seen it skip this paragraph. **SPOILERS BEGIN** Where in God's name was the twist? Was the twist that there was no twist? Throughout the course of the movie we watch as Hoffman sets agent Strahm up as the new Jigsaw killer, he steals his phone and lies to his boss all in plain sight. When we reach the final moments of the flick the 'Hello Zepp' track plays (as is custom when the twist is revealed) recapping everything we just watched. I remember sitting there stunned, what the hell was that? If you think I'm being too harsh (not every film needs a twist) you obviously haven't watched enough Saw movies. They are built on there being a twist – I don't mind if I figure it out before the credits role but at least a little effort would have been nice. Let's not forget that the tagline plastered on all the posters and promotional material for this one was "you won't believe how it ends", no shit, I didn't. **SPOILERS END**

I have to discuss the differences between the theatrical release and the DVD release as I know people who only watch these at home. Every year we normally get two DVD releases; one is the theatrical release which is labelled extreme edition (a marketing ploy, no real additions here) and a Director's cut, close to the release of the next film. This year we only got one release called Extreme Edition, but it is actually a Director's cut, scenes are reshuffled and an important scene me and my friends discussed the meaning of was totally removed!

The scene in question is that of the reading of Jigsaw's will, after Jill (Jigsaw's wife) receives a box from John the scene on the DVD cuts. Yet when in the cinema it continued Jill is asked by her lawyer what is in the box, of which she refuses to answer with a rather sinister grin. Why was this cut? Does it reveal too much about the sixth instalment? This is one of the reasons I hate DVD releases – I'm not getting what I paid to see.

With Darren Lynn Bousmen stepping away to film REPO I expected David Hackl to step up to the plate (having been with the franchise as editor from the first) but he delivered a by the numbers Saw that left me severely disappointed. Hackl was announced to be directing part 5 and 6 but after this release its no surprise they brought in a new director for 6.

Not all the blame goes to Hackl, I blame writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston – after Feast I was looking forward to their next movie but I was let down with Saw 4.Their tyranny continued with Feast 2 and 3 (what in God's name were they thinking there) and now Saw 5. It seems that even writers can be one hit wonders, if I see their names attached I now expect nothing.

Saw 5 was all setup. I'm hoping after the next film I will find a new appreciation for this flick but I very much doubt that. This movie is all kinds of suckage yet I can't help but look forward to the next. From the trailers I've seen the film looks impressive and to top it off Saw 6 heralds the return of Amanda Young, October 23rd. My ticket is booked! Rating 2/10.

Best Kill
The final one – I took pleasure watching that emotionless twat bite the big one

Trivia
The first Saw movie to not open at number 1 – what a surprise?
I hate this film
Real animal blood was used for the final trap

Director: David Hackl
Screenplay: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunston
Release: 2008
Rating: 18
Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson


Other reviews in the series

Saw
Saw II
Saw III
Saw IV
Saw VI
Saw 3D (Saw VII)


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