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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.51%
Worth A Look27.35%
Average: 17.09%
Pretty Bad: 7.69%
Total Crap27.35%

6 reviews, 81 user ratings

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Saw 3
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Even more implausible, even less enjoyable."
1 stars

I'll have you know that the "Saw" movies are not just your ordinary run-of-the-mill gross-out films. They're gross-out films with touchy-feely life lessons. In the first one, the value that needed to be taught via dismemberment and self-inflected torture was compassion; in the second, it was paternal love; and in "Saw III" it's forgiveness. Call this franchise "Chicken Soup for the Soulless."

In all three films, a dying cancer patient named John Kramer (Tobin Bell), named "Jigsaw" by the media, fashions elaborate traps for various people who, for one reason or another, don't appreciate being alive. Usually it involves giving the victim a choice between doing something horrendously painful/disfiguring to him/herself or dying in an appropriately gory fashion. Here, the scheme's a bit different: Jigsaw has captured the anguished Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), who hasn't gotten over the loss of his little boy to a drunk driver and spends far too much time fantasizing about bringing pain to those he deems responsible -- not only the driver, but also the judge who gave the driver only a six-month sentence and, it turns out, a woman who witnessed the incident but never came forward. Jeff must forgive each of these people if he expects to move forward in the "game" and come face-to-face with his son's killer.

Ol' Jigsaw isn't feeling very well these days, since he's been on death's door for two movies now. So with the help of his apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith), a survivor of a Jigsaw game who's developed a daddy fixation on him, he kidnaps a brilliant surgeon (Bahar Soomekh) and hooks her up to an explosive device that's also linked to Jigsaw's heart rate. If he flatlines, she goes boom, so it's in her best interests to keep him breathing. He needs to stay alive to supervise Jeff's game, and also to ensure another #1 Halloween weekend for Lions Gate.

Saw III starts with an interesting premise but quickly squanders it on the usual barely-glimpsed bloodbaths (series regular Dina Meyer gets a particularly visceral send-off) and deathtraps increasingly ludicrous in their mad-lab ingenuity. The judge, for instance, finds himself in a vat slowly filled with the liquefied remains of maggot-ridden pig corpses, which are dumped into what I can only call a huge industrial juicer. The witness is stripped naked in a freezing meat locker and sprayed with water. Interesting ways to die, but they lack the Mikado-like "let the punishment fit the crime" details one expects from movies like this. We don't know or care anything about the victims, either, nor do we know or care much about angry Jeff.

Oddly, Saw III has eyes mostly for the twisted relationship between Jigsaw and Amanda -- the grunge-horror equivalent of Batman and Robin. Why Jigsaw entrusts his life's work to a self-cutting former junkie is beyond me, though it allows Shawnee Smith -- who really should be getting better roles -- to take Amanda through an arc of devotion and jealousy that makes her pretty much the only human on the screen. Unmasking Jigsaw hasn't done much for this franchise, since the singularly inexpressive Tobin Bell comes off more like a teacher of environmental studies (which he actually was in his pre-film days) than like a menacing puppetmaster. What's left is mostly just freakish torment, shot in blinding flash-cuts to avoid an NC-17 rating. And since Saw 4 has already been announced -- we were told back in July there'd be a fourth film if the third one did well, and Saw III made $34 million last weekend -- we can expect even more of the same next Halloween.

Perhaps next time, the virtue that gets taught via evisceration and carnage will be originality. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

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originally posted: 10/30/06 09:30:51
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell it sux saw 2 was alot better 1 stars
5/08/16 Andra Birzu One of the best part of the series, I really love mysteries so I love this series. 5 stars
3/29/14 parisandlondon I agree that Macfadyen is a terrible actor. Never understood the hype. 1 stars
3/03/10 Stanley Thai This film is a great recovery from Saw II. 3 stars
1/12/10 William Clever plot, genius ending. It's a real shame they had to "resort to gore and violence" 3 stars
10/14/09 American Slasher Goddess The meat and the potatoes of the series; the best entry in the series 4 stars
11/03/08 Shaun Wallner Scary Film! 4 stars
10/28/08 Sugarfoot Once again some good ideas but the execution only works occasionally. 3 stars
7/23/08 David V Lame story, and Amanda was pretentious as hell. 1 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Deeply unpleasant, sadistic waste of celluloid. Strictly for pervs! 1 stars
10/30/07 Beau Gross!! i was cringing in the cinemas! but the first is still the best, need to see IV now 3 stars
10/22/07 Adam The gore and nudity deviates from the first two, and the film has a less thrilling premise. 3 stars
7/30/07 ben dover first film original this just fucking sick boring trash 2 stars
6/13/07 Dave it sucked 1 stars
5/26/07 Piz if you like the series you won't be disappointed, I thout it was better than Saw 2. 4 stars
5/19/07 David Pollastrini good gore and hot women! 5 stars
4/27/07 Dave Horrowitz This Is crap. ran out of ideas to kill them. the dickheads. rot in hell. u assholes 2 stars
4/27/07 Anothony mark this is fucking shit 1 stars
4/27/07 Anothony stevenson It's Awesome dudes funny as hell 5 stars
4/24/07 kristina fucking moron. Amanda helped him with the traps. His cancer also developed over the movies. 5 stars
4/10/07 kimberlee this movie sucks 1 stars
3/18/07 Justin P Shit movie, somehow worse than the 2nd and I didn't think that was possible 1 stars
2/26/07 Mike Awesome Awesome stuff! Very cruel! The ending was kinda silly but still an AWESOME flick! 5 stars
2/05/07 William Goss Overwrought depravity deprived of any prior suspense by filling in blanks. Worst one yet. 2 stars
2/04/07 Mike Probably the best horror movie ever! 5 stars
2/02/07 matt actually pretty good, despite the seemingly endless flashbacks 4 stars
1/28/07 mike_rackhabbit what movie ? 3 stars
1/24/07 action movie fan morbidily fascinating-quite good for an extreme gore film--clever plotting 4 stars
12/22/06 Maurice EVO Let the game begin!!! 5 stars
12/13/06 mig Really liked it, but not as good as the first 2. They went the wrong direction with it. 4 stars
12/03/06 zeus this is one of the best films 5 stars
12/02/06 Marsc what pop-video joke, Eli Roth and HOSTEL=#1 1 stars
11/30/06 tammi it was gorey but funny at the same time 4 stars
11/22/06 jesus the movie of saw3 3 stars
11/21/06 Michele better than the second 5 stars
11/20/06 michael first was much better but this had its moments, someplace 4 stars
11/15/06 Drew Galletti A lot of great gore, but not as good as part 1 or 2 3 stars
11/14/06 MR tHE bEST FILM I EVER SEEN 4 stars
11/14/06 Big Al i fell asleep... 2 stars
11/13/06 J.Pet Like Jigsaw's heartrate, it flatlined 2 stars
11/13/06 Dark Enchantress Not as good as the first, NO plot, but ok. Plus i love the Saw movies! 4 stars
11/13/06 Tiffany Losco Yuck, these movies freak me out. 3 stars
11/13/06 In mE I tRuSt reviewers u are pathetic...if you can't judge movies then don't do it.I feel sorry for u 5 stars
11/11/06 Jamethon Not great (obviously), was still better than HOSTEL! 4 stars
11/11/06 DIANA 1st one was better & 2nd & 3rd just went down the hill 2 stars
11/08/06 Michael If you liked Romance in Manhattan, go see this 1 stars
11/07/06 Ashley The movie's storyline was well-written, however the dialogue actually made me laugh 4 stars
11/06/06 Kyle Really good movie! I grossed out my sister when i ate a sandwich after seeing it(No Barf :) 5 stars
11/05/06 Kimberly pretty gorey, better than 2 but not as good as Saw 4 stars
11/05/06 Nick sucks fat hairy ass - 2 stars
11/05/06 josh awesome movie, story was filled with twists and turns and it was original. definite 5 stars 5 stars
11/04/06 nikolina really gory dont watch if u have a weak stomach but i LOVED it 4 stars
11/04/06 dumbfounded 3 sites= 3 copies-same review=all wrong critics should be forced to watch "the break up" 5 stars
11/04/06 not just some guy "gore" sums up this one, great movie better than 2 5 stars
11/04/06 brad thought i was gonna pass out... truly gruesome 4 stars
11/03/06 Harroldo Fun to watch, but a bit too unbelivable this time. nice ingma at the end 3 stars
11/03/06 jae this movie was not as good as the 2nd but better than the 1st 2 stars
11/03/06 ravindra ganesh very beautiful movie, like dam 5 stars
11/02/06 Drew Great gore, but the story line has weakened incredibly 5 stars
11/02/06 DIEGO awesome, very good gore fest movie! 5 stars
11/01/06 Gavin This film hainted me, too many scenes that i couldn't stomache! will still watch Saw4 Tho! 3 stars
10/31/06 Stanley Thai It's a lot better than Saw II but not as good as Saw. 4 stars
10/31/06 Greg I seriously was grossed-out by several scenes. Loved it!! 5 stars
10/31/06 Steve Get off your soapbox you critics - enjoy it for what it is, a good old gore fest! 4 stars
10/30/06 robb brilliant. stunning conclusion to a memorable trilogy. 5 stars
10/30/06 Donny Martwick If you like crap, go see this! 1 stars
10/30/06 Mike If u rate this low, then NEVER watch horror again. This was FUCKIN AWESOME! Very Brutal! 5 stars
10/30/06 zac brilliant. so much better then Saw 2 5 stars
10/30/06 Hateful More turds for the morons. Go eat it up, SpaceMonkeys! 1 stars
10/30/06 benson first movie ive ever walked out on 1 stars
10/30/06 David Worst of the trilogy. 2 stars
10/30/06 mary not as good as the first, but better than the 2nd. 4 stars
10/29/06 Nick Best of the series. I loved it & I am a critic. 4 stars
10/29/06 Wolfie Weakest of the three but still pretty good. 3 stars
10/29/06 Jules SawIII was very good.. Geez, reviewer, whine much? 4 stars
10/29/06 Jake it was actually really good. critics dont like the saws anyway. 5 stars
10/29/06 B.H loved it!!! Directors are laughing all the way to the bank despite you so called movie crit 5 stars
10/28/06 Peter I loved it. 5 stars
10/28/06 DIANA OK 3 stars
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  27-Oct-2006 (R)
  DVD: 23-Jan-2007



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