|Tobin Bell is Jigsaw in the fifth entry in the franchise. (steve wilkie)|
Oh, Jigsaw. Here we go again. You kill. I doze off. Someone at the studio goes "ka-ching!" Four movies ago, your moralizing death traps were at least dreadful fun. That's withered away, and laziness has taken over. With each passing "Saw" (the new title says "five" yet it feels like 55), the movies get further away from the nature of the mayhem you've devised. In previous installments, your battle with cancer meant outsourcing your games to your apprentice (Shawnee Smith, how your insolence is missed). Now we're in the grip of a full-blown Jigsaw copycat. Out of respect for those who care, I'll try not to spoil who it is. But he's no you.
It's true, you live on in flashbacks - I think they're flashbacks. But it's not about you now, Jigsaw. This time the stars are wads of footage from the old films. It's possible to leave the theater under the impression that "Saw" was getting a lifetime achievement award. Presumably, the clips are meant to help us understand what exactly Costas Mandylor and Luke from "Gilmore Girls" are doing here.
We're in the same old dank warehouses and dungeons with the same old rusty instruments of torture. A hand is pulped in a vise. A head rolls. But "Saw V" is all talk. And now, Jigsaw, it's boring even when you pontificate. Partly because what you're talking through is not much different from an episode of "Criminal Minds" or "CSI Miami."
These movies were always torn between Jigsaw's horrific intent and straight-to-cable police procedural. Now it's all cop show - and for part five, hilariously introduced as "A David Hackl Film." Hackl lets the cameraman and editor abuse the movie until it's incoherent. He also served as production designer of the last three "Saw" films. So it's unfair to say that his work has had no effect on me. Every time, I leave wanting a tetanus shot.