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Saw 3D


If you like this sort of thing, you'll like this sort of thing.

Rod Lott January 19th, 2011

 We’ll shortcut this: Those who’ve never seen and enjoyed any of the “Saw” sequels, don’t worry about “Saw 3D,” the seventh and presumably last of the franchise.

For everyone else, this is one of the better entries, attempting to tie up all those dangling threads into a satisfying end. Since 2004’s “Saw,” the little indie that could, the core plot has stayed the same: A mad genius known as Jigsaw teaches life-and-death morality lessons via twisted traps. That’s true here, but with “while wowing you in three dimensions” tacked on the end, provided you have a 3-D-equipped Blu-ray player. (If you don’t, it’ll still play in 2-D; just look for the ones bereft of the “3D” label  and now titled “Saw: The Final Chapter.”)

This time, the focus is on Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery), a Jigsaw survivor who’s turned his tale of near-tragedy into a best-selling bio, a media-heavy tour and a support group for others who somehow beat Jigsaw’s games of Grand Guignol.

That allows returning director Kevin Greutert and screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan to bring back characters from previous outings. Other than Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes), the original’s protagonist, you’re not likely to recognize any of them until the requisite flashback: “Oh, OK, now I remember: She’s the lady who hacked off her own arm in ‘Saw VI.’ Proceed.”

Bobby’s desire to help others seems only to serve himself, and that’s because he’s not a Jigsaw survivor at all. He’s a pants-afire liar, so Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), the killer since the real Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) died many movies ago, kidnaps Bobby and forces him to navigate through an underground maze where each room poses a deadly threat to Bobby’s PR army. Bobby has an hour to wind his way through it or his wife (Gina Holden) will become a victim as well.

Meanwhile, Hoffman still has time to hunt down Jigsaw’s widow, Jill (Betsy Russell), who’s turned him in to the cops, as well as set up ridiculously elaborate traps for various ne’er-do-wells — from cheaters to racists — who serve no further purpose to the film once snuffed.

Where does Hoffman find these people and how does he know about them? Isn’t his real estate agent the least bit suspicious about his penchant for rundown properties? Does he take advantage of Home Depot’s 12-month/no-interest card in purchasing his equipment? And what does he get with his Best Buy Reward Zone points for all the TVs he buys? More TVs?

Does it matter? This series is not about filling endless plot holes, but expending its mental energy on coming up with new ways to dispatch its amateur-hour cast members, and “Saw 3D” throws out a couple of doozy set pieces to make even the most immune gorehound flinch.

Speaking of gorehounds, why do they have such terrible taste in music? This disc’s extras include three music videos utilizing footage from the film, featuring acts I’ve never heard of: Karnivool (loud, seen on a concert stage), Kopek (loud, seen atop roofs and in warehouses) and I-Exist (loud, seen amid wind turbines). Much more up my alley was the “52 Ways to Die” franchise-retrospective featurette, in which four seemingly normal crew members spill the secrets behind their blood-spilling traps, props and models, for 15 minutes, complete with an ouch-by-ouch countdown to wrap things up.

Ocular trauma, pulled teeth, ripped skin, spilled intestines — what will next Halloween be without them? —Rod Lott

 
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