Saw VI 

soNormal" style="MARGIN: auto 0in">This picture opens with two bank loan officers who are guilty of talking folks into taking out larger loans than they could ever pay back, and then repossessing their property. In order to escape certain death, they must remove weight from their own bodies via meat axes and butcher knives. Whichever of the two of them is willing to remove a pound or more of flesh in the greater amount will live.

William finds himself at the mercy of Hoffman, who has replaced Jigsaw, because he works for an insurance company and takes pride in his ability to cancel policies and deny claims. Topical, no? He has an hour to maneuver his way through a series of traps, saving or killing others along the way.

Most of the films' grisly fun has been in the nature of the traps in which the victims find themselves, but this time writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton ("Saw V," "The Collector") aren't particularly inspired and the ending is flat "? although it will lead into "Saw VII," already in preproduction and in 3-D.

The cast includes series favorites Shawnee Smith as Amanda, who's been dead for several films; Betsy Russell as Jill Kramer, Jigsaw's widow; and Samantha Lemole as a pushy reporter who came on board last time.

So why doesn't it work? Over-familiarity, mostly. Also, it's just gruesome without being clever. The film's one surprise isn't big enough to carry us over the weak points.

If you haven't seen any of these movies and you're curious, go back to the first one. If you're a fan, prepare to be disappointed.

"?Doug Bentin

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