Saw II (2005)

Rating: C-

Dir: Darren Lynn Bousman
Star: Donnie Wahlberg, Tobin Bell, Dina Meyer, Shawnee Smith

The success of Saw meant that, inevitably, a sequel following in its tracks, with Jigsaw (Bell) once again kidnapping those who don’t love life as much as he feels they should, and putting them through extraordinary tests to justify their life. In this case, those ensnared include the teenage son of cop Eric Mason (Wahlberg), and he has to talk with Jigsaw to try and work out where the victims are being kept, with time running out before they’re all slowly poisoned by deadly Sarin. Obvious questions such as, where a wheelchair-bound cripple acquires enough chemical weapons to fill a house, go sadly unaddressed. But, then, logic has never really been this series’s strong suit.

No, this is really about nasty tortures, and as a result, the deep, complex issues it raises are less inspired by the pseudo-intellectual wafflings of Jigsaw (which come straight from Philosophy For Dummies), than issues such as “Would you cut your own eye out to get a key from behind it?” It doesn’t help that the cinematic style here comes from Shaking The Camera Wildly 1.0.1, and this is likely to inspire almost as much nausea as the fate of some of the victims. There’s a real failure to generate any interest in the fates of anyone involved in the complex plot, and you sense less thought went into any of the characters, than the ways used to dispatch them. Inevitably, there are a couple of twists at the end, setting up the third part, but I can’t say I have any interest in seeing it at all.