Monday, October 31, 2005

Sawed Off. Sorry, That Was Lame. This Movie Sawks?

Saw 2
2005, USA
35mm
Darren Lynn Bousman

I don’t believe in God. I’ve made that clear in the past, through derisive remarks and by comparing the Bible to a dog-eared copy of The Wizard of Oz missing the last few pages, essentially painting Christianity as a bad ­Zardoz rip-off with a much longer running time. But I take it all back. I’ll suspend my disbelief, frequently confuse the terms ‘feminist’ and ‘lesbian’, and bang my head against a radiator until basic scientific precepts cease making sense, as long as God promises to smite the people who made Saw 2 as surely as he did the Old Testament sodomites. Hell, throw the original Saw into the mix and I just might firebomb an abortion clinic or two. I’m on my way down there on Friday anyway to try and pick up some loose tail, so it’s not like I’m going out of my way or anything. In fact, the ability to willingly suspend my disbelief to that extent might come in handy should they ever make a third film in this series, because the Saw films need blinding credulity burgeoning on stupidity as sure as a Michael Moore documentary.

He's like Jesus for stoned shit-heads.

For those fortunate enough to have missed the first Saw movie, allow me to recap. An elderly engineer gets cancer and a few terrible ideas from watching Se7en too many times, and starts punishing people who are wasting the ‘gift of life’. He targets drug users and adulterers, which seems silly, because like the aforementioned chicks at abortion clinics, these are the people who seem to be using life to have a good time. What he really needs to be doing is killing people with X-Boxes, because playing Halo for six days straight is about the biggest waste of life I can think of, save a Communications Studies degree. So, a bunch of stupid people suffer through a bunch of stupid games strapped to a bunch of stupid devices apparently inspired by the game Mousetrap, all leading up to a shocking twist ending that’s only shocking because it makes no sense. Normally, I’d say that you’d have to be an idiot to find the ending satisfying, but Saw goes beyond that. No, you have to actually be dead, physically dead, to end up with a positive impression of the last few minutes of the film. And it has to be quick, too. If you slit your wrists or eat three bottles of extra-strength Tylenol and die of renal failure, you’re still going to have some time to puzzle through the incredible inconsistencies of the first film. If you want to enjoy Saw, I would suggest bringing a small calibre handgun to the theatre, preferably a .22, in order to avoid disturbing/injuring your neighbour, and shooting yourself directly in the temple as soon as you see the first end-credit title card. That way, you can go to your grave shocked and impressed by the film, instead of tired and frustrated, which is something that will happened before the sternly worded copyright warning comes up in the final title crawl.

With a slightly larger calibre, you might like The Passion of the Christ.

Saw 2 picks up where the first film left off, ramping up the gore, tension, and pure, unadulterated stupidity of the original film. Director Darren Lynn Bousman has apparently confused the first movie with a Marilyn Manson video, and edits the sequel accordingly, cutting like a skipping CD and changing the frame rate whenever he feels he’s losing his audience to boredom. I wish I were bored in this movie. Then, I could have fallen asleep and saved myself the epileptic seizure that kicked in near the end of the movie, in a horrific flashback sequence that re-capped the entire film, up to and including the scene in which the flashback occurs. It’s like a snake eating its own tail, or more accurately, a snake that’s already eaten its own tail, and is throwing it up so we can watch it get eaten again. I’m so angry at this movie, I don’t know where to start. The basic premise has a bunch of people I don’t like locked in a house together, to be punished by Jigsaw, the killer, for the crimes they committed in life. Then, he punishes the cop who put them in jail, because said cop planted the evidence. So, essentially, the script would have us believe that Jigsaw is taking justice into his own hands, by punishing a bunch of wrongly imprisoned people and the cop who took justice into his own hands. Jigsaw, apparently, would like to have his cake and eat it too, except instead of the cake, he’s chewing scenery like Hannibal Lector played by Al Pacino. So, Jigsaw puts these strange guilty innocents together in the house, pumps in some poison gas, and makes them die in improbably capricious traps. And therein lies the first problem. Jigsaw, it is made clear, has an engineering degree. My university studies sadly did not include engineering, but I’m fairly sure that you don’t graduate with a firm grounding in fluid dynamics and magic. My dad is an engineer, and he can build lots of stuff, like combustion boilers and brick-walled barbeques, but he’s not so great at mixing up nerve-gas and welding death-masks. And speaking of the gas, which is explicitly stated to be sarin, none of that part of the movie makes any sense. Firstly, nerve gas doesn’t make you cough up blood. Last I checked, it’s called nerve gas because it affects the nervous system, shutting down your vital functions, not making your lungs bleed like you breathed in Clorox. And I don’t even want to get into the fact that rigging an entire house full of gas precisely timed to affect nine people of different sizes and metabolisms in exactly the same way would be a scientific impossibility. I don’t even know anything about nerve gas, and this stuff seemed ridiculous to me, which means that whoever wrote this poorly researched script knew even less than nothing. How is that possible? I’m guessing that the film actually sucks knowledge and intelligence from the audience to fill the void of retardation left by all the factual errors and faulty logic, leaving myself and the rest of the crowd decidedly dumber by the time we left the theatre. Which explains my sudden conversion to Christianity.

11 Comments:

Blogger Fatman said...

The best part of going to the cinemas is the previews for upcoming films. You see snippets of the film you might like to watch and even bad upcoming film trailers only last for a minute or so, so it isn't that painful. I remember seeing the trailer for Saw and thinking it might be quite enjoyable. It had a lot of dead bodies, the cute, dumb chick from Becker and self-mutilation. And yet it somehow didn't work. It wasn't scary. I'll not see my six bucks that I spent on it. And it was pretty annoying even talking about it because of the title, e.g.:

Did you see Saw?
I saw Saw.

I was never going to see the sequel but thanks for the warning.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Je Suis said...

That was really well written, Ash. I like the way your final sentence turns the whole commentary on how the movie is constantly regurgitating itself into the snake-eating-its-tale thingy itself. I'm going to go ahead and write "clever" under the picture of that poor sap I photographed and labelled "Ash Karreau" the other day. But if he doesn't smarten up, and stop wasting his life, I'm going to have to take that sap down a notch, and possible do him in with my special nerve-destroying platelet-melting super-uber-toxic nerve gas. No offense.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Rin said...

I'd like to add that I don't understand why writers think that the more disgusting their ideas, the better their film will be. Some of Saw II's setups were so gruesome and sick but it just made the film worse. Instead of trying to make something intelligent they actually thought it bettr to get the audience to flinch as much as possible.

I have to say I did like the original's twist at the end. Despite the film being shit. But the sequel was trying too hard to do everything the first one did but with BIGGER TRAPS. and MORE WICKED GRAPHICS.

Re: Halo. It's brilliant, so fuck off.

3:37 AM  
Blogger Sam Kahn said...

I was mildly interested in seeing Saw, but didn't because I heard it was terrible. Recently my interest has been perked again because I read about how much the movie cost to make and I wanted to see it for reference, since it managed to make quite a nice load of box office cash despite the small budget.

And about Halo... it's highly overrated. Poor, boring level design (either generic landscape or a plethora of unmarked, featureless hallways and rooms with columns and crates, whee), poor weapon balancing, and the graphics just aren't that hot. Also, while the story is sometimes compelling, much of the acting is poor and the X-Box loading textures etc. while the cutscene plays just ticks me off. It's definitely one of Bungie's weakest games, and Halo 2 wasn't much better.

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Rin said...

The level design is mostly brilliant. Save for the Library, which was the most boring level of anything ever, most others are really really good. They work not just in terms of giving you freedom but they match the AI perfectly. They co-exist perfectly. The set-pieces always offering something different everytime you play, the enemies never predictable.

And the weapon balancing. Surely it's the perfect design. No longer are games bound by the boring 'each new weapon you get is better than the last' ethic. In Halo each weapon has it's own advantages and disadvantages. Everyone has a different favourite and weapon of choice. Each time you come across a new weapon it isn't an instant 'Yeah, I'll have that'. It's a new choice. A choice that changes the way the new part of the level plays out.

The story is the weak point, which bizarrely is your favourite bit. It's just a sub-standard typical alien invasion. What I did love about Halo is that it broke all the standard FPS rules. There's no fucking rubbish bosses, they're scrapped completely. No randomly running into fights and blasting everything, the balance is perfect and you have to think first. Only 2 weapons at a time so always your strategy is changing. And the game stays consistant throughout. There're no leaps in difficult leading to that final difficult boss who needs a million bullets, it's pure playable gaming.

And Halo 2 is fucking shit just for including bosses.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

You're welcome, Fatman. And the best part about trailers is that nowadays, you get to see the whole shitty movie in the span of two minutes.

Je Suis - thanks for the compliment. Every piece I write, I feel like I've lost my touch, and it's gratifying to know that somewhere over the rainbow, someone occasionally checks my website and gigggles. PS, I was going to try and work the term "Ouroboros" into the snake part, but then I remembered how upset I got at you for using theoretical words that no one uses like 'quisling', and I refrained.


Rin - I have to agree. Ramping up the gore seems to be the go-to solution for horror movie sequels, and while it may keep genre fans happy, it doesn't help smart people very much.

Sam - I'm going to have to pass on weighing in on this Halo battle, having never actually played the game myself. I did, however, watch it being played for an entire year. On my TV screen. While I wanted to watch CSI. So I'm going to maintain that level of hostility right where it is, thank you very much.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

Ok, I'll cross both of these off of my "Check this out later" list.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Tyrell Duane’ron. said...

What are you talking about? That movie was awrsome! Maybe you just didn't understand it.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know where your coming from sam CSI all the way, as long as you mean the first original one, the other ones are just trying very badly at doin a successful remake! Saw was awesome, cant say so much for the second one, good gruesome bits, but the storyline was a little naf! Worth the watch tho;)

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Liam said...

I dunno about your criticism of the nerve gas, I'm sure I've heard of sarin causing you to cough up blood, it definitely causes respiratory problems, difficulty breathing, salivation, convulsions... even coughing enough can cause bleeding from the lungs.

Sure it's may not be exactly credible, but it's just a film and probably just as accurate the supposed "VX gas" used in "The Rock".

11:52 AM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Well, I didn't like The Rock, either.

And sarin just shuts down your lungs. It's a nerve gas. You drool because you're going limp and dead.

But yeah, you're right, I didn't expect it to be necessarily scientifically perfect. But at least a wikipedia search before you write your script should be a prerequisite.

6:54 PM  

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