saw | saw ii | darren lynn bousman | leigh whannell | donnie wahlberg | beverly mitchell | franky g | sequel | jigsaw | mystery | canada | united states | tobin bell | shawnee smith | erik knudsen | glenn plummer | emmanuelle vaugier | dina meyer | timothy burd
Film: Saw II
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writer: Leigh Whannell and Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Beverly Mitchell and Franky G
This movie I made sure to see in the theater when it first came out because of how much I liked the original one. After that first viewing, I actually enjoyed it more than the first and held this thought for awhile. I don’t think I had seen it since getting it on DVD back in college. This is the first time I’m watching it with a critical eye for an October Movie Challenge where I needed to watch some part 2s of franchises. The synopsis here is a detective and his team must rescue 8 people trapped in a factory by the twisted serial killer known as Jigsaw (Tobin Bell).
We kick this off with a cold opening of a guy in a trap. He has something up with his eye and he has a machine around his neck. He has 1 minute to get the key that has been surgically placed under the skin of his eye. If he doesn’t, it will clamp shut like a Venus Fly Trap with nails.
The movie then shifts us over to Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) who is a detective. He has to collect his son, Daniel (Erik Knudsen) from police custody. Daniel is acting out as his parents are going through a divorce and he’s angry. The two of them get into a fight where Daniel states he wants to go back to his mother and Eric tells him to go. He then worries, because he can’t find his son.
Matthews goes to a crime scene that is run by Kerry (Dina Meyer). She is dedicating a lot of her time to trying to stop Jigsaw. The reason that Matthews is called there is the guy killed was one of his informants and there’s a message left for him on the ceiling. Matthews and Kerry get into it and we learn here that Internal Affairs is investigating him. That night, he dreams about the crime scene and a clue of where to look flashes to him. He gets up and relays what he saw.
A unit is thrown together with Rigg (Lyriq Bent) and his team. They go to an old factory and soon learn they’ve come to the right place. There is a trap set up that decimates a few members of the team. Upstairs, they find John Cramer, better known as Jigsaw. He is dying though. He has cancer and not long to live. He wants to play a game with Matthews. He gets his leverage he shows him what is at stake.
In a side room, there are monitors showing what the synopsis is alluding to. It isn’t at a factory, but a large, decrepit house. People walk up together in a room where Xavier (Franky G), Jonas (Glenn Plummer), Addison (Emmanuelle Vaugier), Laura (Beverley Mitchell), Obi (Timothy Burd) as well as Daniel and even Amanda (Shawnee Smith). She was put back into a Jigsaw game and it appears because she started to cut herself. They all have something in common as well, but they aren’t sure what yet. Jonas tries to put it together from what the tape says, but Xavier is a bull in a china shop. They do learn that there is a poison gas in the building that is slowly killing them and they have to play a series of games to get the antidotes for each one of them. This will also lead them on a path of discovery as to how they’re connected.
To just close out this recap, Matthews is told that his son is in a safe place and all he has to do is sit there and talk with him. Matthews is a hothead and is trying to figure out what happened to his son before it is too late.
Now this recap went a bit longer than what I wanted it to, but there is a few moving parts that I felt needed to be brought up before I moved on. What I want to start my analysis with is that as a sequel, I like that this takes what the original does and builds on it to make it bigger. We have more people that are involved and technically we have two games going on that are interconnected.
What I love about the games here are that if you just listen to what Jigsaw says, for the most part, and stay calm, you can win the game. The first guy has it a bit rough, but if the will to live is there, then you can do it. As for the larger game in the house, Xavier creates a lot of problems. If he would listen to Amanda and Jonas, the first guy doesn’t die. He is bullheaded and quite violent. The other thing is that, people make this an individual game when if they work together they can survive. My original point also works for Matthews and his game. Kerry tries to convince him of this, but he is similar to Xavier. He has anger issues and that blinds with him with red.
I have more that I want to delve into with the story, but I think since I’ve touched on the games, I should go into the effects here. The first trap was cool and reminded me a lot of the reserve bear trap, just obviously a bit different. There is a razor blade game that I think I’ve figured out how to beat, but the character that does it is exhausted and the poison is really wearing on them by that point. It would be very easy if you have others helping for sure. There is one with fire that you just have to suck it up and go for it. The one that got me the most though was a bunch of used needles that are in a pit. This is supposed to be Xavier’s challenge, but he throws someone else in. I like the set up for what they did with these. The make up to show these characters breaking down the more they inhale the poison was a good touch as well. The cinematography was fine aside from some weird edits late in the film that annoy me and there’s just this like greenish filter on everything I’m not a fan of.
To get back to the story though, Jaime brought up while we were watching this that everyone in the game in the house really is being punished for something that they really didn’t do. Matthews is involved and some of them are guilty of something, so I guess that could be the reasoning. We also don’t get most of the characters fleshed out. I don’t know much about Jonas aside from what he states. Same could be said for Addison and Laura as well. It doesn’t ruin the movie, but I think it would help me understand a bit more if that is fleshed out.
This would take me next to the acting for the movie, which I do think is good. Bell is John Cramer aka Jigsaw in my eyes. He just embodies it and with his look, I believe he could be a mastermind. This is interesting here to show his weakness that he has cancer and I started to feel bad for him when Matthews is smacking him around. It is just odd for the things that he is doing and it really isn’t his place to punish people as he is. Smith is solid being back. I like her story arch here. Wahlberg does a great job as Matthews. He just has that look of a dirty, rough cop who is falling apart. Knudsen was fine. Franky G is a character I hated with how mean he is, but I give him credit for getting the reaction. Plummer was fine, along with Vaugier, Mitchell, Burd, Meyer and Bent. None of them really stand out but the ladies are nice to look at until things fall apart of course.
So now with that said this movie I’m not as high on as I was when I left the theater. My original thoughts on it being better have definitely gone away with looking at this with a critical eye. The acting is good here though, across the board. The effects I thought were really good and I really only had issues with some editing near the end and the filter that we see the game in the house has. I like how they build on the story from the original, but I do think there are some problematic aspects to some of the characters being punished to me. Aside from that, the soundtrack was fine, I liked playing the theme right there at the end as well. I’d rate this as an above average movie for me now. Still worth a viewing if you liked the original to see the story continues on.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10