Saw II (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on April 24, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Sony (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 89 minutes
The Movie
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Shawnee Smith, Tobin Bell, Franky G, Glenn Plummer,
Dina Meyer, Emmanuelle Vaugier
Screenplay: Leigh Whannell, Darren Lynn Bousman
Country: USA
Like many in Hollywood, Darren Lynn Bousman had a script that he was shopping around to try and get it filmed. Having already written and directed a short (Butterfly Dreams) and a feature (Identity Lost), Bousman felt he was ready to direct his script entitled 'The Desperate'. James Wan and Leigh Whannell's Saw had been getting brilliant reviews at Sundance, and one producer was looking for a like-minded script to capitalize on its success, and so after a long time of being told his script was excessively violent, he was now finally getting some interest. On the eve of a deal being signed, Bousman's script was deemed a worthy successor to the now successful Saw and he was asked to rewrite it as a sequel, with Leigh Whannell eventually being brought on to tweak it as well. The result became Saw 2.

Eric Matthews (an almost unrecognizable Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block) is a cop who has lost his edge. After being a police tough guy for years, his divorce, and wayward son, Daniel (Eric Knudsen) have reduced him to being a hollow shell, a wasted life. In comes Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) who has his son trapped in a building with other miscreants (amongst who is the returning Shawnee Smith), where they are slowly being poisoned…unless they can find a way out. Matthews has to persevere with Jigsaw's cryptic comments to determine what he has to do to save his son's life…

Filmed like a heavy metal video, this has plenty of quick cuts and some abrupt scene changes, although there are also some clever EdTV styled monitor to reality segues as well. The performances are all pretty solid and some of the traps are so icky (for want of a more mature word) that your testicles may retreat into your body and may not be seen for several hours.

My only gripe with this film is that the sequels are being forced onto us. The idea of a sequel was not obvious with the first film, and it seemed more like Se7en in its autonomy, but events in the second film suggest we are going to see a landslide of these films…especially considering Saw III is already in production.
The image, obviously on a release as important as Saw 2, is impeccable…although I do suspect on occasion that a bit of edge-enhancement may have been used, although the lighting scheme for this film has made that not completely definitely easy to ascertain.
Nothing short of spectacular, the closing doors, sounds of metal clunking and screams flying around the room is a dizzying example of audio acrobatics. This film is definitely one for a dark night when you are all alone and will make you love your 5.1 system all over again! By the way, the music on some of this soundtrack is incredibly similar to some of Goblin's work on various Argento films, and sounds great.
Extra Features
One of the Special Features is The Traps of Jigsaw, which is a design and making of the various traps and puzzles Jigsaw uses to torment his victims. The mini documentaries within this feature are: Jigsaw's Game (2 minutes 57 seconds), The Head Trap (4 minutes 23 seconds), The Needle Pit (8 minutes 37 seconds), The Hand Trap (2 minutes 52 seconds), The Furnace (4 minutes 3 seconds) and Bits and Pieces (4 minutes 34 seconds). As interesting as all these special and make-up effects pieces are, I think I would have preferred just one 30 minute documentary covering them all, rather than each individual trap getting its own 2 or 3 minutes worth.

In the special feature titled 'Storyboards' there are actually four comparisons of storyboards to filmed footage. These for are Death Mask (3 minutes 40 seconds), Jigsaw's Lair (1 minute 46 seconds), The Needle Pit (2 minutes 44 seconds) and The Furnace (3 minutes 23 seconds). This is well presented with two of Jigsaw's monitors being used to display the storyboards and the filmed footage concurrently.

Like the first Saw disc there are four trailers on the DVD, and none of them are for Saw 2. On this we have the trailers for Lord of War, The Fog, Waiting and Cake.
The Verdict
Do you want to play a game? I have a thought that sometimes a sequel can actually diminish the impact of an original story, and this is no exception. Taking a little from the first Saw, a little from the Cube series and its obvious influence Se7en, Saw 2 doesn't quite add anything to the 'Saw mythos' other than to give it an opportunity to extend itself into further sequels, but it is still an entertaining movie nevertheless. Unfortunately, movies that rely on a twist ending can sometimes have you waiting in anticipation for the twist so much, that when it is delivered, it loses its shock value.
Movie Score
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