The dullest blade

Saw franchise reboots with a flop

Starring Tobin Bell. Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas. Rated R.
Rated 1.0

It was seven years ago, around Halloween, when I had myself a little celebration. Well, I did a little happy dance in my head when I walked out of a movie theater.

You see, I had just seen Saw 3-D, aka Saw: The Final Chapter, the seventh film in the Saw franchise and, as advertised, the supposed last.

Deep down in my cinema-going heart, I didn’t really believe it would be the last one. I had been tricked before. (Screw you, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street!) But, you know, it did say The Final Chapter in the title, and this was back in the pre-Trump days, when I was a little more optimistic and had a bit more spring in my step.

No more was I to endure Tobin Bell as Jigsaw, droning on about “playing a game” while murdering people with elaborate schemes that would cost something like $7 billion per death (a lot of industrial labor, major logistics and perhaps even a live production crew would be required to pull off Jigsaw’s Rube Goldbergian stunts). After two or three years went by, I thought, Hey, maybe greed won’t win the day and Jigsaw’s cinematic legacy actually come to an end.

Nah. The bastard lives on. Jigsaw resurrects the series, pulling Tobin Bell out of the mothballs and finding a way for his permanently scowling, droning party pooper to commence elaborate killings again.

Things start in that oh-so-familiar Saw way, with a bunch of people trapped in a room and chained to contraptions that threaten to disembowel them. They are all bad people who must confess their crimes or face the wrath of Jigsaw and a rather stellar makeup department. This movie is idiotic, but the gore masters do some pretty decent, yucky stuff. There’s a half-sawed-off-head moment that is quite good. I hope the PA or intern who did the work on that one got an extra Snickers for the effort.

Yeah, Jigsaw died in one of the past movies. I don’t remember which, and you couldn’t pay me enough to go back and watch them again to figure it out. I just know he died somewhere in the prior six films, and lived on in flashbacks. The writers have come up with yet another way to return the crotchety psycho codger to the big screen because somebody at LionsGate needs one of those saltwater swimming pools and a new bike.

I’d give you a plot synopsis but, hey, what’s the point, right? It’d just be me running off a bunch of characters played by actors and actresses you don’t really know dying at the hands of convoluted killing contraptions—like the nonsensical spinning blade thingamabob rigged to a motorcycle engine that makes little to no sense, or the wire rigging sniggle-dee-doo that chops a dude’s leg off, etc., ad nauseam.

Seven movies in, and I’ve yet to meet a Saw movie that I like. Jigsaw is more of the same, more of the lame.