|Directed by:||Kevin Greutert|
|Written by:||Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan|
|Cast:||Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Betsy Russell|
Special Agent Strahm is dead, and Detective Hoffman has emerged as the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw’s legacy. However, when the FBI draws closer to Hoffman, he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw’s grand scheme is finally understood.
Again a year later we start pretty much right back up where we left off with the fifth film, and it starts out showing the teeth of the franchise with one of the most gruesome intros to date. All of our favorite characters from the two previous films return, but we also get the addition of a whole new element of the film. This also adds quite a few additional characters to be killed of course, but on top of that there is also the addition of the key to this film. What I really love about this sixth film is that it kind of takes an approach on our current times in the real world, with issues in politics and such and I really found it to be that little extra thing. The kills though are pretty much returned to not having all that much significance to the characters deaths, but the journey that our health care exec takes definitely involves choices that he has made before. It’s the commentary on our present society in this film that kind of shows that someone is actually trying to keep the Saw franchise relevant and original, and I really appreciate this being that I’m a large fan of the franchise. Originally, I considered this the best film since the first but upon a re-watch I think I found a couple more complaints to have.
The main thing that I’d complain about with this film is again the kind of lack of relevance with the traps to their victims, and also just kind of the fact that they’re gratuitously here. Sure they are very gory kills and everything, and they’re fun to watch because of that but having anything to do with the story, don’t count on it. We do get one of the goriest kills though in my opinion in this film, and it’s actually in the intro that we lose one of our favorite characters as it ended sort of with Saw V. Unfortunately it’s enough of a spoiler to keep me from saying it to you, but we lose Agent Strahm who was played by Scott Patterson. He is completely crushed to just about nothing, and the goop and guts of what’s left of him is quite a sight to see that’s for sure. Otherwise though the kills are fairly just dreamed up and not involving anything with the characters’ “issues”. What this film does draw on though like I said is the element of incorporating some sort of social commentary through the people “Jigsaw” has chosen to test. The main person that is tested in this film by whoever you want to say is the killer, is our big time health care executive played by Peter Outerbridge.
Like I said I really like this commentary added, but it’s mostly due to the sinister performance that Outerbridge gives for the character of William Easton. Easton is shown to be the health care guy who had denied Jigsaw his coverage on any sort of operation for his cancer, and also shown to deny many others because of pre-existing conditions. Him and his team of “error finders” prove to be the most evil of the subjects that Jigsaw has chosen for his lessons. What this film does for these characters is create that sense of rooting again for the character of Jigsaw/Hoffman, because probably since the third film we haven’t had any reason to be rooting for the villain because they were mostly killing for no reason. The traps set up by Hoffman and Amanda previously are found to be trap-traps, by which I mean that they were inescapable and provided the victim no real lesson except for the one of death. The return of meaning to the character’s purpose whether it be Jigsaw, or Hoffman was definitely great to see. It all creates it’s significance and power though from the fact that at the time of the release of this film, we were dealing with health care issues as a country in the United States.
Outerbridge though nails this character capable of true evil in my eyes, and it really makes his tests all the more important to the story. Throughout the film he is tested by chosing who to live and who to die, just as he always has done as an executive for a health care provider, but this time it’s a little more severe. Outerbridge isn’t the sole actor in this film though, as we obviously get the return of Costas Mandylor as the evil killer Hoffman. He is still undiscovered as far as everyone else goes, and that kind of plays as well into the story as the suspicion rises that the killer isn’t actually Agent Strahm. All of these elements help in making this a great film, and there’s also the obvious return of many franchise staples. Betsy Russell returns to play Jill Tuck who is the ex-wife of Jigsaw himself, and she takes on a much more significant role in the films from here on out. Along with the wife, we get the husband played by the great Tobin Bell, who again shows just why these films became so popular in the first place. The character of Jigsaw is about finally rounded out in this film though as far as getting his “revenge” on humanity, and Hoffman is taking over as the named killer of the franchise.
Despite the fact that I would take back my earlier statement of this being the best since the first film, I still think it’s a film worth watching especially if you’re a fan of the franchise. It obviously connects some older films to the present, and this is always fun to watch especially since it’s involving our new villain in Detective Hoffman. The social commentary on our society and its issues with health care is really what sets this film apart from the rest of the sequels as far as a purpose, and I really think this was the driving force for this film being as good as it was to me. A film that shows it’s at least trying to do something new and unique on top of providing the typical gruesome kills, definitely shows that there is still a reason to keep interested in the franchise. As far as sequels go after this though, Saw 3D is said to be the last of the franchise after this film so I guess we’ll see exactly what happens to Hoffman soon. As far as Saw VI goes though, definitely give it a watch to add to the experience that was the second trilogy of the franchise. And if not that, give it a watch to see those damn health care executives denying the ill simple coverage, really, really get it.