Tuesday, November 15, 2005

SAW II, rated R for gratuitous violence, and also for replacing Cary Elwes with Donnie Wahlberg.

Everyone loves a sequel. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked for a DVD to enjoy and found myself saying “Let’s watch Jewel of the Nile or Lethal Weapon 4 again!” 2005 is truly becoming the Year of the Sequel, first with Oscar contender The Legend of Zorro emerging as a smash hit, and now with Saw II capturing the spotlight.

Oh, enough with this. The editors here at Reviews pressure us to write upbeat articles and look for the positive in every film. “If you can’t say something nice, make it up” says my boss. But today, I’m going to tell you the truth. Saw II sucks. Maybe director Darren Lynn Bousman has a secret book called “How to Make a Sequel Really Really Suck,” because he seems to have succeeded on every point.

First, he replaced an offbeat yet recognizable star who can really act--Cary Elwes--with a forgettable actor that nobody particularly likes or dislikes: Donnie Wahlberg. I had to look up his name three times before I could manage to write it down, because I kept forgetting it in the time it took to click over to my Word doc. Is it just me, or does he look like you took Matt Damon and smoothed out his face and performed a lobotomy to remove any traces of personality?

Second, where the film might have explored character motivation, back story or plot, it instead fell again and again into stupid, gratuitous violence. Donnie walks into a room and eek! There’s a bloody arm on the floor! Donnie goes home to his apartment and eek! There’s a note with an ear pinned to it! Donnie follows up on a lead and eek! His partner is caught in an elaborate man-trap that must have taken an entire crew of Survivor stagehands to set up! After the tenth or eleventh discovery, the body parts and blood spatter just aren’t shocking anymore.

Third, Bousman took what was a disturbing and unique idea in Saw—locking two guys in a room to solve the psychopath’s puzzle and possibly murder each other—and decided “more victims, more murder, more better!” In the sequel there are not two but EIGHT people locked in a room with a puzzle to solve and a body count to amass. Of course they fall into the usual stereotypes: The cool guy, the hot chick, the uncool guy who lusts after the hot chick, the not-hot chick who is played by a hot actress with glasses and dyed-black hair; the smart guy who happens to know trivia relating to the puzzle; the professor; Mary Ann; and a child/sweet mentally impaired person/pregnant woman/other figure who inspires pity. Yawn.

Anyway, I’m going to post this now. Maybe my editors will take it down, maybe they’ll replace it with a glowing review. Maybe I’ll get fired. But for once I want to warn you: Saw II is terrible! Don’t see it!

On the sequel scale, which ranks Batman Forever at -**** and Look Who’s Talking Now at -*****, I rate Saw II right down there next to Home Alone III.


Blogger Jim McCarthy said...

What do you mean? I love Marky Mark!

10:13 AM  

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