“I don’t condone murder and I despise murderers.”
So, something that I’m not going to do with these movies is talk about the impracticality or absurdness of the traps. For a franchise like this, until the writing becomes unbearable, you really just have to take them at face value. You don’t have to LIKE them, but it definitely helps to suspend disbelief and just take the world the movies give you. Just food for thought on this, before we get started with SAW III : Before The Wheels Came off. A brief idea of what this one is about :
Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen through a brutal test.
Once again, this movie really does what a sequel should do by upping the brutality and the body count. This time around we have more traps, and more graphic kills. The movie opens with a pretty disturbing trap where a man in a room has several chains hooked into his body. However, this is when we realize that someone else might be working on Jigsaw’s behalf, and creating traps that can not be beaten. The next bit of ‘house keeping’ the movie does is gets rid of Donnie Wahlburg’s ex-partner from the previous movie, again in a trap that can’t be beaten.
These first two traps in the movie are graphic, and effectively disturbing. They definitely have upped the ante from the film before, and that does open the movie quite well. When the real plot begins, we are with Jigsaw, who is essentially on his death bed, and his protege Amanda (Shawnee Smith, from the first two films). We steadily learn that Amanda is unbalanced, and has been murdering people rather than testing them. It is an interesting bit of morality play between these two villains, and the movie does have a focus on the two of them, rather than on the other characters.
We also follow a man who has lost his son, as he progresses through a series of tests involving those he held responsible for the death of his son. This story is a little bit flat, and the father character seems to always decide to forgive the people in front of him just a little bit too late. However, we realize in the end of the movie that his story wasn’t the main story, and so I suppose that’s why it felt a little bit flat.
The story does work though, and like the first two, it does unfold effectively to its reveal, which is effective and twisty. It also wraps up most of the loose ends with this film. It could have been the ‘Saw Trilogy’, however it did leave it open for more, and so we got more.
As a trilogy, these first three movies work really well, and are well worth your time. The green colour scheme of these movies does get a little bit irritating and distracting, but its easy enough to deal with. This one specifically is slick, gory, and effective. It works really well as a sequel, and on its own.
The actors are hit or miss in this case, but Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith deliver pretty solid performances, and them movie does focus around them for the most part. The story works, and doesn’t come off as too unbelievable in the world of the first 3 Saw films, and it delivers in the grim death that people want from a movie like this. Admittedly, the next few movies do start a pretty steady decline, but at the very least these three movies work well and are worth your time.
The traps are gross, the brain-surgery scene is surprisingly graphic, and I really think that if you want a movie full of blood, twists and mayhem, you could do so much worse.
So, with all of that said, check this one out. Watch the first three Saw movies for sure, and lets see how many more of them I can so confidently recommend. I stuck with the series because I loved the first movie so much, and I fully acknowledge the wildly varying degress of quality, but this 3rd one delivers and is worth your time.
Final Grade : B