* Saw VI
Hoffman is back (boo), but this time he is exacting revenge on a scummy health insurance executive who created a formula that values healthy people who will earn them more money over sick people who actually need treatment. This is another installment that isn't bad. In a pre-Affordable Healthcare Act age, people were frequently turned away from health insurance, frequently when they actually needed it, for small discrepancies in applications or pre-existing conditions. Jigsaw was one of these people who was denied a promising experimental treatment due to his age and the cost. He designed a series of traps that has this executive literally deciding who lives or dies. The victims are people he knows, coworkers, peons, and finally, his own family. For anyone who was the victim of health insurance's predatory and cutthroat practices, this is cathartic. Jigsaw's situation is relatable and we finally get to see the person beneath all the traps and the facade. It's gratifying for someone in control of this to see how toxic and perverse their practices are when more honest about the outcomes.
In addition to this pretty cool storyline, another follows Hoffman and Jigsaw's ex-wife in a weird power struggle. Both want to honor Jigsaw, but both want to do it differently. Both characters are awful. The wife is weak and indecisive while Hoffman is annoying and overbearing. I want both to die just so I won't have to see them in the next film. The ending is preposterous. If that reverse bear trap had been the real thing, nobody would have survived it. A cheap one was used simply to continue this tiresome storyline until the final chapter. Overall, I love the main story and I think others would too. For the time, it tapped into a typical experience in the US and provided a gruesome, but satisfying response. The rest could have been cut from the film.
My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins
* Saw 3D: The Final Chapter
Hoffman is back again (double boo). He survived the reverse bear trap super conveniently and continues his reign of terror on two guys and their mutual lover, a skinhead gang, and Bobby Dagen, a self help author who claims to have survived one of Jigsaw's traps (which he didn't). Jigsaw's ex-wife is on the run from him after her failed murder attempt. This installment is also not horrible. The opening scene is horrible with the two timing woman and her unwitting lovers. Who cares about their drama? It also has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. After that, it gets better. I loved seeing Cary Elwes again as Dr. Lawrence Gordon from the first Saw film. He plays a small, but important role. Seeing liar and con artist Bobby Dagan go through actual traps, ending with an exact replica of the one he claimed to have survived. Seeing him with the other survivors was just gross since he capitalized off of their pain and suffering. In the meantime, Hoffman is trying to avoid the authorities and kill Jigsaw's ex. One truly disgusting scene featured a sexualized death scene with her in a dream clearly meant to exploit the 3D element. Really Saw filmmakers?? Ew. The ending is satisfying, twisty, and ties together the whole series nicely. Some parts are missteps, but overall, an enjoyable close to the series.
My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins