The Saw series has featured recurring merits and flaws over the past 5 years. Whilst the meta-narrative has admirably moved forward throughout the films, the storytelling has at times been more than a little hard to follow (the last instalment being the prime example). The quality has generally hovered around the ‘decent’ mark, with each film usually featuring one or two great moments.
With Saw V they have well and truly dropped the ball, however. Firstly, it’s badly made. The series has never had a huge budget, but this instalment looks cheap and crappy in the extreme, from the badly rendered titles to the cardboard sets and lazy framing. The same rapid cut techniques linger, but they seemed tired by episode two, really.
The performances are also a problem. This film sees the new bunch of traps as a kind of subplot, so the five people that awake to find themselves the victims of a whole new ‘game’ don’t really get much of a chance to shine. It’s a pity, because they deliver the film’s best moments. Carlo Rota, seen in the last season of ’24’ is perfect – he’s not gonna take any crap from Jigsaw or his deadly gizmos, and Julie Benz is gonna make a name for herself as the actor to hire for extended sequels, what with this and Rambo. The main problem is that this film’s main two characters, Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson), are exceedingly dull. It isn’t helped by the fact that their dialogue is poorly written and clichéd, or that they simply don’t have that much to do.
To try and outline the plot would be pointless – the films have well and truly past the point where they only make sense if you’ve seen everything that came before. Saw V seems to have the most number of (usually re-shot) flashbacks of any of the films, and is indicative of the feature as a whole. At best, the film only serves to explain what has come before it. Whilst some of this has been a mystery until now, it doesn’t really matter. Who cares when major characters first met, or how certain traps in previous films were set up?Rating: