2 1/2 StarsThe torture-minded maniacal master planner, Jigsaw, is back with a new set of deadly death devices and a new group of players in his twisted game of morality and mortality. The third movie in the series of seven, is not as clever or well-though out as the previous sequel, though the squeamish content anne has been upped. Tobin Bell is still the most intriguing aspect in these rudimentary pictures, his subdued delivery and non-pulsed demeanor along with a nice twist ending land this one the side of a slight recommendation.
Last time we were held in the grimy world of the Saw universe, Amanda (Shawnee Smith) had been recruited as an apprentice to the ailing John Kramer/Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). The events of this movie immediately follow the second film, setting up an opening prologue that graphically depicts Det. Eric Matthews (Donnie) smashing his leg to hanging tendons in order to escape an ankle chain. So, three minutes into Saw III and already we have mutilation, if that’s the main selling point of these movies, you get your moneys’ worth here. Kramer is dying but before he succumbs to the tumor in his brain, he’s enlisted an unwilling female surgeon (Bahar Soomekh) to perform a back-alley procedure, while a man (Angus MacFadyen) bent on revenge is tested in Jigsaw’s unique maze of torture.
The surprise ending that pulled the rug from unsuspecting viewers in the original, and the gross-out sequences of part two, have given way to this concoction of both. It is the least successful of the film’s so far but it also has moments that work. The revelation in the film’s final act is intriguing and spins the tale into a preachy sermon on love, trust and fidelity in two relations. Amanda comes into her own as a full-fledged character and the film’s attention to the growing jealous she has towards the surgeon helps establish the eventual rejection she feels.
Saw III is a little better than what one would come to expect from a franchise that has built a shaky mythology for itself. I think the guiding hand of series co-creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell in the story department is an immeasurable asset to what is otherwise an exercise in make-up effects.
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Stars: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus MacFadyen