IHAO on ... Saw VI
Let's get this out of the way: Saw, Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V
I've been waiting for the shoe to drop since the third movie. I've been waiting for that really terrible movie that ruins the series, turns it into torture porn and a gorefest, that strips away all the character drama and storytelling. And, you know what? It still hasn't happened. In fact, The quality has become pretty consistent, and even better, in someways, it continues to improve. Saw VI continues the trend of telling good stories, with interesting traps, and surprisingly deep characters. I saw surprising because ... ok, let me do the plot set up first.
Spoilers (very minor) ...
Jigsaw is dead. His apprentice has taken over completely by this point. But John Kramer has one more trap he needs done, one last will and testament. And it is all around the insurance guy who would not allow Kramer to do an experimental drug course on their insurance. Even more interesting, the insurance guy, played by the really excellent Peter Outerbridge, ISN'T wrong! The experimental treatment has a less than 50% chance, and that is just too high for an insurance company, especially for someone as old as John Kramer. It isn't fair, it sucks, but he's right. So he is tested. At the same time, the Apprentice is trying to get his name cleared, but some unexpected turns happen as he finds himself in a seemingly losing battle to cover his tracks.
Saw VI has some HUGE PROBLEMS to begin with. Some of the bad actors return, though the good actors that return all more than hold their weight. It has a LOT of "color-coded" scenes, which drives me nuts. You know what I'm talking about? When a movie color tints EVERYTHING, generally with the REALLY stupid blue-orange color dynamic. It gets really really irritating, and it took me out of the film. A lot. We are also introduced to a whole bunch of characters very quickly, so they are all basically just swathes of two-dimensional characters, including Outerbridge's character. But that is just to begin with.
After about ... 15 minutes, things change. And Saw VI becomes ... almost my favorite of the series! The traps, all of them, are incredibly well done. Sometimes the traps in these movies go a little crazy and overboard. Saw V was really overboard with its traps, the ones that weren't stupid. But there is a great combination of inventive, unique, and simple traps. They are all visceral without being incredibly gorier, other than the very first trap of the film, which is a wonderfully difficult to watch section based on Shakespeare's "a pound of flesh." The acting is so good, the writing is incredible, the cop plot is fantastic, the test of Outerbridge is wonderful, and ... I cannot say enough good things about MOST of the movie.
The opening makes me SO ANGRY because of how good everything else it. But what is really great about it all is that the only really cringe worthy moment, for me, was an extended replay of the last movie. And this film not only makes an excellent trilogy-ender for Saw's IV, V, and IV, but it is a fantastic stand alone. I really really loved the parts I loved in this film. But the parts I hated ... oooooo did I hate it. Hopefully it will not get any worse than that stuff.