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  Saw 2

Darren Lynn Bousman, USA, 2005

Rating: 3.0


Posted: November 5, 2005

Take a poor man’s Christopher Walken as a villain, Dirk Diggler’s older, more grizzled brother, a bunch of miscellaneous ne'er-do-wells, and -- most importantly -- that sweet, sweet Saw puppet, throw them into a blender and what do you get? You get Saw 2, baby, and as the trailer suggests, “Oh yes... there will be blood.” Saw 2 delivers on the blood quotient as the notorious killer “Jigsaw” sets his sights on Donnie Wahlberg, and I mean, really, who among us has not, at one time or another, entertained the thought of terrorizing the former "cool" member of New Kids on the Block? Anyway, “Jigsaw” never directly kills anyone -- although it could be argued that putting a bear trap on a dude’s head that will snap shut in one minute unless he gouges out his own eye to get the key that Jigsaw placed there is probably akin to murder. But I 'm sure that there are legal minds far brighter than I who have already addressed such issues. I’m talkin’ to you, Alan Dershowitz!

Here’s the deal: Jigsaw has placed Donnie’s kid, along with some other goofballs, in a house that is gradually being filled with a lethal nerve toxin. The keys to escape the house are conveniently placed all around them -- like at the bottom of a pit filled with nasty, drug-filled syringes, or inside a furnace. See what I mean? It’s like discovering that I injected you with a deadly poison, and then I tell you that I put the antidote for said poison inside Mickey Rourke’s underwear. Sure, you can get it, but is that a price you'd really be willing to pay? These are the choices that Jigsaw gives his victims. Jigsaw himself is a brooding dude, a near-death cancer patient who's trying to see who among him is willing to pay the price for life. He spends most of his time with pursed lips, staring downward -- at least until Detective Donnie goes old-school on him to extract some answers. Please refer to my original Saw review, 'cause the plot is pretty similar here, except that there's no portly Cary Elwes sawing off his foot and dragging his “flabby ass to sweet freedom.” Man, sometimes I just have a way with words!

Saw 2 gives us buckets of blood and semi-clever plot twists, and even does a commendable job of returning to the funky bathroom scene of the first film. But there is one thing missing here: Give us more Saw puppet! The Saw puppet kicks ass! Jason ain’t got no puppet! Michael Myers ain’t got no puppet! Not since Zorro’s captivating “Z” has there been a better signature of a man’s work. And while I’m at it, I gotta say, the budget this killer has for his fiendish contraptions is astounding. The dude has nerve gas, bank-vault-thick safes, a pit full of syringes, a remote control puppet (with articulating jaw) that can ride a tricycle, and a ton of high-end video equipment that would give a network news station a run for its money. This killer is definitely going “uptown” with his work, that’s for sure.

Look, when you settle in for Saw 2, don’t worry about the details. It's more of a roller coaster than a catalyst for higher thought (despite the heavy-handed moralizing). If the makers just would have given me four or five more minutes of that awesome puppet, it would have rocked! Sadly, they do not, but all is not lost. There may be a franchise in the works here. And if that does happen, remember where you heard it first: Stay with the puppet, people! It’s a can’t-miss. If you're not squeamish, and are willing to suspend disbelief for an hour and a half, then there may be something for you in Saw 2. Don’t be ashamed to look for it. I wasn’t.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

 5.0: A drop of bliss

 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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