As if the first one wasn't bad enough, Lionsgate has hit us with "Saw II," a dreary, pointless sequel that offers more violence and bloodshed but with the same bad acting, poorly-constructed plot and terrible direction.
Amazingly, "Saw" director James Wan is gone, but Lionsgate replaced him with equally inept Darren Lynn Bousman, who suffers from the same syndrome that causes one to think they are making a cooler and edgier movie than they actually are. "Saw II" is splattered with random flashbacks and quick takes that only make the movie look even more scatterbrained. Instead of focusing on making the film halfway decent, Bousman tries to use a variety of techniques from rotating cameras to... well, every other amateurish trick in the book. His poor directing ability is capitalized in the final moments of the film, where he massacres the surprisingly decent twist ending with a series of flashbacks, most of them not contributing to the explanation of said ending.
Of course, Lionsgate's second mistake was bringing back writer Leigh Whannell, who took a good concept in the original and destroyed it with horrible dialogue and silly plot developments. "Saw II" suffers from the same problems. The movie has a great concept - the Jigsaw killer has been captured, but the police are still at his mercy as he already has a group of people stuck in a house of traps, with limited time remaining to save them. Unfortunately, great concepts rarely turn into great movies, and "Saw II" is no exception. On top of the bad dialogue, Whannell resorts to making his characters spend the entire time of their captivity yelling at one another, when instead they should be working together to escape from their confinement. The characters are given two hours to live, but strangely enough they just scream at each other without ever exploring the house. They only find a couple of the envelopes addressed to them, and don't even go in all of the rooms.
"Saw II" does have its bloody moments, but the only real squeamish scene is when a woman gets tossed into a pit of needles. Why she gets tossed in still doesn't make any sense to me, but anyway, that had me cringing a bit. Other than that, "Saw II" really isn't as disturbing as you'd expect, unless you count a bunch of lame actors running around coughing the entire movie - and the coughing isn't even realistic.
By the way, doesn't the kid look like Frankie Muniz?
"Saw II" is perhaps a slight improvement over the original, but it still sucks. Horrible dialogue, bad acting and terrible direction combine forces to make a silly gore flick that is clearly trying to be the next "Seven" but falls short in every respect.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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