When did violence become entertaining?
For better or for worse, action and adventure have always been a part of cinema. But my question is not when did that arise, it is when did the pain and suffering of people in the most violent, vicious ways imaginable become a source of enjoyment, of fun? When did seeing people drilled, exploded, stabbed, shot, crushed, needled, decapitated, dissolved, frozen, gouged, and harpooned become a legitimate, viable source of entertainment? Who okayed this? Why is this R, yet any sort of frontal nudity instantly an NC-17?
“Saw 3D” may be the most thought-provoking movie in recent times, but not so much because of its hopeless inadequacy as a piece of work (which believe me, I’ll delve into later) but because the movie is essentially a huge representation of the place that Hollywood has arrived at: Mass-producing incomprehensible gibberish, adding in gore to appease the fans, slapping ’3-D’ on a title and shipping it to theaters to make a huge profit.
“Saw 3D” is everything that is or that can be wrong with film, with Hollywood, and with us, the audience: Always happily consuming this garbage, not thinking about what our enjoyment of this says about us, being blind to just how truly evil and sickening a product this is.
It once again revolves around the legacy of Jigsaw, a man who constructs elaborate death-traps for those he deems unappreciative of what they have. (Funny that he’s been dead since “Saw III”, yet still appears in every installment) Sean Patrick Flanery plays Bobby, a self-help guru whose claim to fame is surviving one of Jigsaw’s traps. The problem with that being he’s a conman and a liar, and Jigsaw’s apprentice Hoffman will whatever it takes to ensure Bobby pays for his lies.
It’s often humorous just how completely incapable this movie is, in every imaginable way. Acting? Laughable. Cary Elwes returns to the series for the first time since the first installment, and is absolutely horrible. I don’t know where his talent as an actor has gone over the last few years. Tobin Bell (who is often times the best part of these movies) is reduced to a 2-minute cameo appearance.
There are many moments in this movie where I sat in the theater, thinking to myself, who thought this was a good idea? One character doesn’t refer to another by her actual name, only by the word “crazy”. Random dream sequences make absolutely no sense. The dialogue is some of the worst of the year, some dramatic lines cracking up the entire theater. Some characterizations are shifted entirely in the course of a scene. Bottom line, taken at any imaginable level, this movie makes zero sense.
Will this review change anyone’s minds who wants to see it? No. The fan-base is too devoted, too hooked. Do I blame them? Not really. But it makes me sad, both as a film critic and as a person, to see such garbage given such attention. “Saw 3D” is not just a failure on a filmmaking level, but a mean-spirited, brutal, vicious attack on our senses, our minds, and our wallets. What in 2004 began as an effective exercise in suspense has since devolved into total, barbaric garbage. This may the be worst film of the year, this may be one of the worst of any year. The first film I’ve reviewed to receive a 0 star rating.