Yesterday I watched Saw 3D and I unequivocally hated it. The violence was sickening and over-the-top, most of the acting was wooden in the extreme, and there were long stretches where nothing interesting happened. Now I’ve had time to think about it though, I’m starting to wonder if I didn’t give it enough credit. Not that it gets much credit, but maybe a little more than I thought at first.
A problem I had with this film, apart from the not-to-be-watched on-a-full-stomach-content, was how ineffective Bobby the self-help Guru seemed compared to previous protaganists of the series. There are a couple of Jigsaw’s victims-of-the-week that he could definately have saved- his poor wife, if he’d been quick enough to connect the extension cables which would have stopped the oven from closing, and his best buddy, who died because he managed to drop the key to open his noose-hanging thing at a critical moment. Afraid if you fumble a pass like that, it’s on you dude.
He also wimps out from lifting the bars on the weightlifting trap for long enough to save his publicist, something it seems like the earlier protaganists in the series (Dr Gordon from the first film for example) would have managed without trouble. Overall, none of the victims who he gets a chance to save survive, something which is (I think) unpreceedented in the Saw franchise. Then I realised that’s the whole point of the story.
Bobby’s backstory is that he cashed in on the Jigsaw vogue by claiming to have been in a trap where he had to perform a typical gristly act on himself to escape. He was, of course, lying; the most danger he’s ever been in is from excessively heavy noogies in the playground. He used the fame he gained from his deception to get a job dispensing self-help cliches about how “empowering” (what does that word mean?) his experience was, and how everyone who had been in a trap should be grateful. And along comes the Jigsaw killer, the quintessential poetic psychopath, ready to take him at his word…
Bobby’s ordeal is a kind of karmic punishment for his previous lies to the world; he is put in a position where he can live up to his talk about empowerment, seizing his goals and doing what it takes to survive, and he fails miserably. When placed in a genuinely dangerous situation, he doesn’t have what it takes to survive or transform his life; in his story he claimed to feel “reborn” after getting away from Jigsaw alive, whilst here he reacts with utter horror. Because he failed to save anyone, it means that unlike a few of Jigsaw’s victims he doesn’t benefit from his experiences; he is completely destroyed by them.
Anyway, I still wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone really, since it’s so over-the-top nasty and quite boring a lot of the time, but there is a sort of story in there, if you dig. In more competant hands, it could have been decent. Can anyone else think of redeeming features in otherwise horrible films?