Quick-Thoughts: Saw III (2006)

Saw Marathon • 2nd Viewing • Warning: Spoilers Ahead

“You’re not Jigsaw, bitch!” (x100) 

Now raise your hand if you think Donnie Wahlberg’s character would have any reason to say that. Nobody? Awe, smart crowd. 

I suppose everything I said in my Saw II review can easily be applied to Saw III minus two things: the terror-aspect here isn’t actually all too shabby and the characters are at least buyable, minus Amanda. There’s a consistent theme to the game and its pawns this time around, one that focuses on forgiveness as a man named Jeff must progressively endure a series of trials to pardon those who participated in the injustice that occurred during a trial for the accidental murder of his son. The petrifying traps here aren’t loosely associated like they were in two, and each one is based on the real life intimacy between the victim and the one who can save them, giving the film an interest and intensity that the second one lacked whenever it drove away from Wahlberg’s storyline for carelessly constructed “terror-porn”. It’s nice to see that the movie actually takes its time to set up the characters instead of just throwing all of them in a room and labeling them “criminals.” Back to Amanda, however, who’s expansion to the series is kind of wrongly wasted for some jealous hothead betrayal that establishes she kills for fun? Yet, didn’t she originally respect the idea of being saved from Jigsaw’s trap? The only basis for her betraying him is that she realized that some of Jigsaw’s traps weren’t really effective in rehabilitating their victims, but what does that have to do with her wanting to kill? It kind of blows also how often Saw III insists on connecting back to the first Saw to develop this bulls**t part of the narrative, producing unnecessary glut that bogs down the runtime. 

Now, I think at this point it’s fair to say that Jigsaw’s morality has certainly gotten even more inconsistent than before, but that heightening blur to me is kind of interesting cause it shows that even Jigsaw (who always acts so put together) is desperate for some overreaching level of justice considering he has such little time; people are hypocritical indeed. But hey, at least it led to a particular favorite scene of mine in this franchise where Dr. Lynn has to cut open Jigsaw’s skull, which is a really neat way of rejuvenating the whole concept of a trap because this one in particular boils down to just being a dangerous, DIY surgery procedure. The climax of this movie is awful but in the funniest way possible that makes this entry better than Saw II for me despite that movie having a fairly logical twist in its conclusion. Saw III, on the other hand, delegates itself to a FAR more improbable twist-a-thon that had me ROLLING with laughter. Jigsaw trolled Amanda and Jeff almost simultaneously with THREE REVEALS: Jeff and Dr. Lynn are married, Amanda was on trial this whole time, and Jigsaw locked Jeff’s daughter away somewhere where he can’t find her in case he tried to kill him. What a d**k! 

Verdict: C-

The Saw Franchise Ranked

“Saw III” is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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