Jigsaw becomes more topical.
The new shine of the Saw series ran out several entries ago, but the films have remained at least moderately entertaining. Saw VI: The One Where They Ran Out of Ideas is a problematic entry. Kramer still makes constant appearances, and at this point it is clear the whole series is stuck in the past.
In the previous entries, the primary victims of Jigsaw have been criminals (or police officers). This time, we have bank officials, insurance officials, and other topical villains for 2009. Having the film turn to corporate punishment doesn’t make a lot of sense. Whatever the original thesis of the series was is long gone, and instead we have a continued sort of beatification of Kramer after he has died.
Detective turned Jigsaw apprentice Hoffman is still the most obvious bad guy as he grunts and grimaces his way through the investigation. I thought Strahm was stiff, but I honestly miss him at this point. I suppose the FBI agents in this film are all suffering from brain damage as they seem totally amiss that this guy is one of the bad guys. When Hoffman was more in the shadows his gruff demeanor worked, now he seems more like a cartoon.
We follow a jackass insurance executive as he must learn a lesson by killing a bunch of other people. Did I misrepresent that? Maybe? Not really. I think the odd part is the film is openly wanting us to root for Jigsaw now, which makes these little more than revenge fantasies at this point.
The extended soap opera with Hoffman, Jill, and the FBI continues. Oddly, this series seems more like a television show at this point than a series of stand alone films. What makes this one more problematic is that probably about half of the runtime is spent in the past. The whole insurance executive thing is just for gore—otherwise it is more world breaking. (You might think I meant world building, but you’d be wrong).
Having Jill become another apprentice of Jigsaw is also an excessively stupid decision. The cult-like mentality that surrounds Jigsaw doesn’t make any sense. I would argue the first film shows a delightfully twisted person who has a unique way to become a serial killer—nothing more, nothing less. We couldn’t just have an interesting killer though, we had to make it something grander, and thus dumber.
Don’t take my word for it. Saw VI made about half as much money as the other films in the entry, so it seems like audiences all over were getting a little tired of the same thing over and over. Granted, the film isn’t a total failure. The traps are still interesting, albeit some of them here seem a little phoned in (hung via barbed wire). There is a major imbalance on the quality and intricacy of the traps. The films have gone too nuts (really, they did from the first entry) with the impossibility of the traps, so instead of feeling any terror it is more a thought experiment to how they would work.
We might also have the least interesting characters in this one. I liked Kramer, but I am sick of him here. Jill should have never been a villain, and Hoffman needs someone to bounce off. The victims this time are also quite boring. The insurance executive (I forgot his name—kind of impressive seeing how I am writing this while watching the film) makes for such a stereotypical slimy villain that it is hard to care about him. We are led to believe his family is in danger, but those captured aren’t given enough time to be anything other than the golden carrot he is seeking.
I do try to be funnier on these reviews, but this series has gotten so mired in mediocrity it is hard to joke about. I mean, make a joke about lukewarm coffee. Hard, right? Give this one ago if you like lukewarm coffee (that was a stupid line) 4/10.