Publicity Stills of "Saw II"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Thriller
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Franky G., Dina Meyer, Beverley Mitchell, Glenn Plummer, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Shawnee Smith and Tobin Bell
RunTime: 1 hr 31 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: NC-16

Opening Day: 1 December 2005

Synopsis :

Jigsaw is back. The brilliant, disturbed mastermind who wreaked havoc on his victims in last year’s SAW is back for another round of horrifying life-or-death games. When a new murder victim is discovered with all the signs of Jigsaw’s hand, Detective Eric Mathews (Donnie Wahlberg) begins a full investigation and apprehends Jigsaw with little effort. But for Jigsaw, getting caught is just another part of his nefarious plan. Eight more of his victims are already fighting for their lives – and now it’s time for Mathews to join the game…

Movie Review:

For those who are not aware of what the whole “Saw” (or the “Saw” Franchise) is about, “Saw” focus on a character, Jigsaw, whose purpose in life is to help those unfocused souls who are not appreciative of their blessings through the use of freaky deathtraps and terrifyingly deadly games.

After the outrageous profit it made in the box office with the relative low budget, the sequel to the horror flick, “Saw” was expected and highly anticipated by its fans. The storyline for “Saw 2” was based on the first time director’s, Darren Lynn Bousman, original idea for a movie call “The Desperate” which was thought to be very similar to the concept of Saw. Leigh Whannel who cowrote the first “Saw” movie was roped in to help Bousman adapt his idea into the sequel for Saw. The result was a magnificent mesh of ideas, reaffirming the first Saw concept and yet breathing new ideas into the second one.

While the first movie sets up the very brief introduction of this brilliantly disturbed mastermind and Saw 2 presents an insightful look into what created this monster in an originally very normal person. Even though “Saw 2” lacks of the novelty of first “Saw”, it still contains the same twisted sting at the end that would leave its fans wanting for more.

This premise of “Saw 2” begins with a group of 8 in a house trying to beat the 2 hours critical time frame to save themselves from the poisonous gas they had all inhaled. Clues to their antidotes are planted everywhere in the house and so are the booby traps planted in the treasure hunt for their lives. Meanwhile, there lies a detective who is very anxiously trying to rescue the 8 people who are trapped in that house as his loved one is trapped in it too.

Although the acting in “Saw 2” is not of Oscar caliber, given the limited budget and days of filming, the cast gave credible performances and was effective in each of their roles.
Tobin Bell portrayal of the elusive Jigsaw is the true star here in “Saw 2.” His Jigsaw performance was comparable to Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lector, always calm and menacing even when they are subdued. Both characters are evil but there are alluring factors to their methods and mannerisms that would entice the audience to root for the bad guy in this movie. The best bits in “Saw 2”: viewers are treated to more screen time of Jigsaw and digs a little deeper into the complicated mind of this disturbed mastermind, with an insight into how he started on this morbid quest. Never has a frail old man look so menacing and spooky.
Rushing to stop Jigsaw this time round would be Detective Eric Mathews (Donnie Wahlberg). Donnie Wahlberg last remembered for shredding 43 pounds for the cameo role in the Sixth sense was pretty natural as the hotheaded detective. However, the more hotheaded the detective is in this game of wits, the harder it becomes to support the good guys until you wish he would just calm down.

There are also two alumni actresses returning for another performance in “Saw 2” and this time, both actresses are awarded longer screen times and meatier roles. Shawnee Smith plays the survivor of Jigsaw’s twisted first game, having to go through another round of deathtraps. She holds more information and guides the group of 8 through Jigsaw’s game. She exude a certain vulnerability and strength that makes her character interesting to watch.

Dina Meyer is back in her role as the detective officer who assisted Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover) in the first failed attempts to capture Jigsaw. With that experience and with a new detective, Eric Mathews, she transform into a valuable asset in stopping Jigsaw.

The only complaint stems from the usage and development of the 8 characters trapped in the room. Remove a couple of the characters from the eight and it would still be as effective. In the end, the director had to find closure for some of the characters that had no meaningful concern with the on-going plot and results in a drag on the pace.

There are generally two genres of reaction after watching Saw 2. There are those who hate it and then, there are some who sit on the edge of their seats for the last segment of Saw 2, impressed and fascinated by the suspenseful revelation at the end. Yes! There is more blood and gore than the first Saw as promised by the posters but it will be the strategic mind game that would make the fans cheer for Saw 2.

Movie Rating:

(“Saw 2" is a suspenseful and spooky sequel that on par, if not exceeding it’s predecessor)

Review by Richard Lim Jr

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