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Saw VI (DVD)

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Genre: Horror / Suitable for 18 years and over / Actors: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Mark Rolston, Betsy Russell, Shawnee Smith ... / DVD released 2010-03-08 at 2 Entertain / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL

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      18.08.2010 13:02
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      The sixth (and supposed penultimate) part of the "Saw" series.

      Plot:

      Following on from the events of "Saw V", Jigsaw Killer apprentice Lieutenant Marc Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) tries to continue the work of his mentor whilst covering up his own crimes by placing the blame on FBI agent Peter Straughm. A health insurance company and its employees become the target of the Jigsaw Killer's apprentice. Meanwhile, Hoffman is in for a few more surprises of his own starting with the discovery that a certain Jigsaw investigator is not really dead and that his own tests are far from over...

      What are the "Saw" movies?

      *Please feel free to skip this brief outline and go straight to the review if you are already up to speed with the "Saw" thing and don't feel you need to reminisce. There are no real spoilers to any of the films contained within this particular section.*

      "Saw" was a film short created in 2003 by James Wan and Leigh Whannell. So successful was the short that it went on to become a cult hit full length feature film the following year. One or both members of this duo have since served in some major creative capacity - be it directing or writing - on the series from the first film until its third sequel, "Saw IV". The films are all horror movies that come under the dubsiou subgenre of "torture porn". However, they are distinctly different - and perhaps more mainstream - than most of their influences and imitators in the respect that they don't preach a nihilistic message and are asexual in nature. The film's main antagonist, the Jigsaw Killer, sets up a series of "games" for unsuspecting victims. The films focus on his life and legacy that intertwine with the lives of the characters of each film. These are ingenious, but potentially fatal and torturous traps. They are designed to prompt either the person in the trap or a selected victim outside of it to make a decision within an allocated time limit. This decision will result in some form of sacrifice directly related to a past indiscretion. Failure to comply with the game's rules, make the decision or complete a certain task within the time limit will result in the death of person trapped or have dire consequences for someone closely related to the decision-maker. The twisted moral objective of the Jigsaw Killer is to apparently teach each person the true value of life. As the films progress we learn that the victims are often somehow connected to the Jigsaw Killer's life - they either people he blames for wrongs done to him or potential apprentices he is testing. Each sequel - most notably "Saw III" onwards - features a lot of flashbacks, both using footage from the previous films and newly created scenes to make sense of the latest instalment's plot points. The films contain many plot twists and turns, and as the series progresses always trace themselves back to the previous features.


      Review:

      *Warning spoilers for Saw I-V follows*

      I viewed the sixth instalment of the "Saw" series under the mistaken belief that it was the intended finale. It appears that this was never to be the case, so where I got the idea from I would love to know. Anyway, one conclusion I think only the most diehard fans of the franchise would disagree with me over, if this wasn't intended as the last one it damn well should have been! This is not to say that the whole series has descended into parody or dramatically diminished in quality like all of its '80s counterparts, but it could have been nicely rounded off with this episode. Instead rather than feeling like the end of a second trilogy - which is what "Saw" fans generally view it as - "Saw VI" just feels like it is dragging matters out. This might be due to the fact that incredibly an eighth "Saw" was intended to be the last part of the story. However, the lower box office returns for "Saw VI" has prompted makers to finish the series with a seventh instalment, this time shot in 3D. It shouldn't really come as a surprise, having to churn out yet another episode in the ever more complex and confusing storyline in time for an annual Halloween release was going to take its toll. The fact that the producers have gone for this obvious current trendy gimmick in cinema for their climax shows the world weariness and apparent cynicism of this series and the subgenre of horror it champions.

      However, I shouldn't be too harsh on "Saw" or this particular episode. The weakness of the series could be due to the higher bar set by "Saw". Readers of my other reviews, articles, essays and reflections on horror movies will know that I don't have a lot of time for what is currently known as "torture porn". I am not opposed to shock as a tactic or even as a form of titillation - its been used by some of the most erudite of drama writers and best performing artists - and I tend to be on the very liberal side of the censorship debate, so long as we are discussing adults. However, English-speaking horror movie makers over the past decade or so just seem to get it all wrong. Most seem like sniggering school boys trying to impress compared to even the shoddiest of Italy's cruel Giallo directors and writers. And none, including "Saw", have been able to match the best Japan has to offer. Nevertheless, "Saw" is perhaps the best the US has to offer in this rather limited and morally dubious type of entertainment.

      There are several reasons for this. Firstly the "porn" side is far less evident than most of its clones. "Saw" doesn't really even exploit the symbolic sexual imagery used by more subtle horrors. Instead it goes down a very moral path and explores an area I personally find fascinating - the warped vigilante. It asks us very uncomfortable questions regarding life as well as crime and punishment. Like many effective moral horrors from Stephen King's "The Perfect Storm" to Agatha Christie's famous whodunit "And Then There Were None" to the psychological thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock, "Saw" readily paints three dimensional characters and plays with your sympathies. Furthermore, for all the lingering gore shots and effective psychological trauma that are the film's hallmarks, Saw's main antagonist is a complete cerebral monster who exerts his will through stealth, cunning, organization and innovation alone. A constant throughout the series from the very first movie was to keep his physical role down to a minimum. By the second episode we have him captured and dying. His death at the end of the third feature opened up a whole new and potentially interesting avenue to explore. Running the fourth film within the same timeframe as the third demonstrated a willingness to weave an interesting plot rather than just hastily rehash another sequel. Unfortunately the fifth episode did not provide the type of climax the story seemed to require. It certainly had its moments, as this one does, but it would seem that by not having either of the original film's two creators - James Wan and Leigh Whannell - involved in key positions had an immediate downward effect. Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan appear to be the substitute proverbial captains destined to go down with this ship, and will be blamed for the series demise. I am not entirely sure whether this is fair, as my feelings and others towards Saw III's cliff-hanger ending were somewhat conflicted. It was a good twist - original by horror movie standards - but I did feel a collective feeling of "they're it milking now" among my fellow viewers. Many anticipated the series to be a neat trilogy. "Saw IV" was a good idea - a legacy idea that was unfairly shot down by horror fans in 1985 in the fifth instalment of the far lower brow "Friday the 13th" series - but there was little getting away from its weakness compared to the other three films. Perhaps Wan and Whannell got out whilst the going was good!

      "Saw VI" doesn't really bring anything particularly functional to the franchise other than to spend more screen time on Jigsaw's background using newly created flashback sequences. It reveals (see creates) new plot twists, but this does not really improve matters. If anything, it leaves the series open to more criticism for plot inconsistencies and causes problems with suspension of disbelief. The overall style seems fairly consistent with the other instalments and none of the episodes are ignored. The series has retained cast members and I don't think anyone could really accuse "Saw VI" of being disloyal to the other films, just doing the best it can with the overstretched situation. However, as much as this should be commended in the book of "how to execute sequels", I think this might have more to do with the demands of genre movie buffs since the 1990s. Action and horror films in 21st century are often carefully planned with sequels in mind and it is rare to see a transparent cash-in on a surprise success. A generation of internet contributing comic-book reading fans are poised to report unfavourably on unconvincing sequels. So, in this respect "Saw" has just done its job, but it has done it better than most.

      If you have enjoyed the movies thus far then it will be worth a watch. However, if you completely new to the series then I apologize for the spoilers, but I wouldn't suggest you start here. It does not hold up as a stand alone film at all. This is a fault I am sure will leave many a first-time "Saw" viewer expecting a few cheap frights more confused than scared. My advice if you are new to the series and like the look of it to watch the original and then decide whether you are willing to "play the game".

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        21.04.2010 14:10
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        Another Chance For Gore

        Best Movie About Power Tools Since The Last One
        ================================

        Jigsaw has been dead for a while and yet his games still continue, confirming the police's suspicions that he had at least one accomplice. How can they catch the killer or killers remaining as the leave no traces, or has the killer made a mistake this time?

        It's an insurance man (we all love those don't we) who get's put through the test but this time it could be game over!

        Conclusion
        =======

        Saw has entered the realm of horrors like Friday 13th and Nightmare On Elm Street that seemed to go on forever. Saw 6 attempts to be a little cleverer by having interlinking plots that sometimes run in the same timeline as previous films. Fortunately (or unfortunately for some) the gore lets up a little.

        Horror films need to be chilling as much as they are gory, Saw 6 tries to be suspense full and gory at the same time, but emphasis for me is definitely in the gory. The first scene is the goriest of the lot, in fact it was a little bit disturbing even knowing that of course it's not real at all. If you've come for the gore then you still won't be disappointed.

        Tobin Bell get's to come back as Jigsaw again in flashbacks, as does Shawnee Smith as Amanda. The star of this one is Costas Mandylor
        as detective Hoffman. However, I find him to be very wooden, he really has very little depth at all. His character is really used as
        a way to keep the franchise running.

        Peter Outerbridge who won't be familiar to many (including me) gets to play William Easton the insurance guy who doesn't like to pay up (do any of them?), he's not at all bad, despite the slightly cliched role as token hate figure. Can't say we'll be seeing him again soon in any big budget films but he's more than adequate here.

        The effects are a big part to most horror films, the effects come down to the traps and false body parts to get chopped off etc, it's not the best and not the worst in this category, some of it's certainly cringe worthy and I think that's exactly what they aim for. Although they're not really showing anything that has not been done in the previous films.

        The music appears to be exactly the same music they used in every other Saw films, that must save then a bit of cash along with having mostly unknown actors.

        The biggest problem with Saw is that despite attempting to be clever and create links between the films, the basic premise is still the same. I'm quite surprised that they have managed to get so many made. They're not the worst horror movie ever, there are many many worse that are usually acclaimed as the scariest things you will ever see. The idea of taking the moral high ground is interesting but has been done in too predictable a way, taking a very easy hate target. At least it's not gone as bad as the Final Destination series has. I wonder if they'll be another as this is the lowest grossing of them all, I think there really have been enough now.

        Main Cast List
        =========

        Tobin Bell - Jigsaw / John
        Costas Mandylor - Mark Hoffman
        Mark Rolston - Dan Erickson
        Betsy Russell - Jill Tuck
        Shawnee Smith - Amanda Young
        Peter Outerbridge - William Easton

        Directed By : Kevin Greutert
        Running Time : 90 Mins.
        Certiciate : 18

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          11.04.2010 22:59
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          Sixth film in Saw series.

          Saw VI is the sixth film in the Saw series. The Saw films are horror films about the "Jigsaw killer", who makes sick games for his victims, in order for them to appreciate life more. They are known for their graphic violence and all are rated over 18. Saw VI was released in 2009 and was directed by Kevin Greutert.

          I have seen the previous five Saw films and while they won't be troubling the Oscars voting committee anytime soon, they were entertaining enough violent horror films. The only real reason I saw this was to see if the plot would tie up some lose ends, which it did satisfyingly enough. But don't get me wrong, you wouldn't be lost here if you hadn't seen the previous Saw films, as the storyline isn't exactly complex: William Easton is the executive of a health insurance company, who makes a living revoking people's health insurance by finding discrepancies in their application, in a roundabout way preventing them from getting treatment. We soon learn he did this against John Kramer, (The Jigsaw Killer) preventing him from getting treatment for his cancer. He and seemingly his whole office are kidnapped and he is forced to go through five tests, each one involving some of his employees, for instance the first one involves him and the janitor being connected to this big crushing machine, whichever one lets go of their breath first is crushed to death. While all this is going on Mark Hoffman, who investigates the deaths of the victims of the jigsaw killer, is revealed to be the predecessor of John Kramer and the film follows his struggle against the police as well as William's battle through the traps.

          First impressions of this movie is of course the violence. Arms are chopped off, people are shot in the head, self-mutilation is happening like there's no tomorrow. But admittedly I did find each of the traps laid out by the Jigsaw Killer quite interesting, and looked forward to each one. Unfortunately though it's a good idea for a film but isn't done great. Costas Mandylor is laughably awful and his character as the new Jigsaw Killer becomes a parody of itself, in one scene when asked whether he had anything to do with the murders he raises one eyebrow and says: "Maybe I did, Maybe I didn't".

          Costas Mandylor aside, Peter Outbridge performs well in the role of William, and all the other characters to well enough in the little space they have to show their skills. The film manages to keep the tension going, and despite some plot holes, I did find myself rather enjoying it. The soundtrack is your predictable metal-horror nonsense; with band names like Suicide silence and Mushroomhead what do you expect. At ninety minutes it avoids dragging on and moves fairly quickly. If you can look beyond the ridiculous plot, some mediocre acting and the needlessly savage violence, you might just enjoy this horror thriller.

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            07.04.2010 15:38
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            A great horror film - one to watch

            Saw VI was released on 22nd October 2009, I am a big fan of all the Saw movies and am ashamed to admit that I only got round to watching this one two nights ago. If you have never watched any of the Saw films before then I highly recommend them, they are extremely clever in the way they are written with many twists and turns - please note they are also very gory! Saw VI lasts 90 minutes in total.

            Anyway onto Saw VI, for those of you who have not watched it already, I will try to explain it as best as I can without giving away any of the plot details.

            In my opinion the film is, as all of the other Saw films are, written with many unique turns and twists. Even though the story line carries on from the previous Saw V, Saw VI does have its own identity as a film.

            Even though Saw VI is obviously part of the saw set of films, I feel that it is only fair to give my opinion about Saw VI rather than to compare it to the other films as it does have its own storyline, plots and merits.

            With Saw VI I found that I really had to concentrate when watching the film as it can become very easy to miss an important detail. The plot is so intricate that I would recommend watching this film a couple of times, I feel that when you watch it a second time, it will reveal even more to the viewer. A few times I had to stop and rewind the film to make sure that I digested all of the information.

            Jigsaw, the main character that features throughout the Saw films (Played by Tobin Bell) somehow again manages to encapsulate the audience into trying to get into his mind and understand him. Tobin Bell plays the part of Jigsaw outstandingly and I never thought that for one second I would ever be able to have any empathy for him. To my horror I actually found myself feeling slightly sorry for him. In my opinion when you are watching this film, it is so intense that you cannot turn away even in the gory bits, much as you may want to you are totally under Tobin Bells spell.

            Lieutenant Mark Hoffman is also a leading character in the film and is played by Costas Mandylor. I do not feel that the role of Mark Hoffman really credited Costas Mandylor's acting skills effectively. I found the role of Mark Hoffman to be somewhat boring and I feel that this character should of been a lot more wicked and calculating throughout the script, in my opinion I felt that he was a bit of a wannabe and felt slightly let down with the potential of what could of been a very exciting character in the film, I was not impressed with his role at all.

            Jill Tuck, is played by the beautiful Betsy Russell and in my opinion this was the perfect part for her. Again my heart did go out to Jill Tuck perhaps when it should not have, but again somehow, the genus writers of this film, Mark Melton and Marcus Dunstan can somehow by magic make us feel sympathy for the characters when deep down we really do not want to! I loved the way Betsy Russell played the part of Jill, one minute butter would not melt in her mouth and the next minute she surprised us with her nature of the fighter and believer somewhere deep inside her conscience. She was a very powerful and strong female character in the film and played the part superbly.

            I have to say it is very hard to do a review on the 6th film in the series without giving anything away!! If you liked saw VI, I have read that Saw VII 3D is due to be released in October 2010, watch out for that one!

            I would give this film 4/5, the only element that I did not like about the film was the part that Costas Mandylor played, however the film itself was expertly written, very gory with many turns and twists. I would definitely recommend this film to anyone, except those of you who do not like to see blood!!

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              15.03.2010 01:17
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              If you liked the original, don't watch this.

              My Opinion:

              Oh dear, what have they done. Yet another classic example of one sequel too many. You take something unique and original like Saw and you just keep duplicating it until everything is thinned out to the point that it is not even a B movie but more like a Z movie.

              I sat in a room with 5 other people and within 30 minutes everyone was talking amongst themselves and no one really cared what happened in this movie. I thought perhaps everyone was being harsh so I watched it again on my own without any distractions and sure enough my original diagnosis was correct, it is RUBBISH!

              Saw VI is the 2006 fifth instalment of the Saw Series, Directed by Kevin Greutert and written by Patrick by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and produced by Mark Burg and Oren Koules.

              Plot:

              Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is continuing in the murderous footsteps of Jigsaw but someone from his past returns with evidence that might expose Hoffman as Jigsaws apprentice. Jig Saws wife has a mysterious plan that might take everyone by surprise.

              My Final Opinion.

              I just didn't get it. The old Jigsaw followed a set formula that was all about educating people so that they would appreciate life but in this one he seems to be targeting the morals of Insurance Assessors and
              loan sharks but I couldn't connect to the idea that these people deserved to die due to their jobs.

              The torture devised just seemed to have become more boring and less gruesome to the point where they don't really hold any interest and it's quite clear they've run out of original ideas. There is the usual final twist at the end but it's so weak it completely lacks the shock factor you expect from a Saw movie.

              There is absolutely not attempt to build any suspense in this movie and it doesn't do enough to hold your attention and I actually found it hard work. The characters are weak and you just don't connect with any of them so you don't really care what happens to them. I hope they respect for the original and stop giving us more of this rubbish but they've probably already made Saw VII.

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                07.03.2010 18:19
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                Back into the action with Saw VI, more traps, more blood and some answers...

                Released on the 8th March 10, Saw VI is the fifth sequel to the popular 'Saw' that was released in 2004. Having pre-ordered my copy from Amazon I received mine a couple of days before its actual release date and this is my review of the latest instalment of the franchise.

                It is quite difficult to write a plot summary of this film, as if you have seen any of the other 'Saw's you will know that they all form part of a larger story with questions being answered that were left open in previous instalments. But as there is a subplot that fits in with the larger story arc I can review that; As usual the film opens as a trap is about to begin and we follow a particularly nasty 'pound of flesh' test between two individuals, part of the 'fun' of Saw is the traps themselves so I won't reveal too much information as don't want to spoil them for you, suffice to say this opening test is certainly on par with previous openers and is just as disgusting and stomach churning.

                Once that ordeal is over we get into the story and this instalment picks up from the end of Saw V as agent Strahm was being crushed (charming, I know) with Amanda and Jigsaw himself now long dead Detective Hoffman has been left to continue on with the legacy of Jigsaw. We are introduced to William Easton, an Insurance company vice president whose company provides medical cover for its customers; he manages the claims area and has a team of people who are dedicated to trying to find loopholes that mean they don't have to pay out for claimants. He is portrayed as ruthless and uncaring and it is no surprise to discover that he has had past dealings with John Kramer, and that following Kramer's death instructions had been left for Easton to be put in a game.

                We follow Easton as he has a series of tasks to complete and choices to make before he can reach safety and whilst this plays out we begin to get answers to previously left questions. We discover what was in the box that John left Jill in his will, how much involvement Jill actually did have in the previous games and even find out more about Jill's miscarriage from the very first film which caused John to adopt his Jigsaw persona and begin the games in the first place. There are returning characters that I won't mention here, but they were a surprise to me as well as plenty of new footage involving John himself.

                This film is said to be the conclusion of the second trilogy and does go a long way to answer the questions that were left open in instalments 4 and 5. I know other people criticised the previous 2 instalments (personally I didn't mind them) but after I watched this latest film a lot of things made sense and this does go a long way to tying up a lot of the loose ends. It isn't a film to watch if you haven't seen the previous 5 as you won't know who the characters are and why they are doing the things that they do, but if viewed for the traps on their own then there some very effective ones in this instalment.

                This time the traps have more of a homemade feel to them that was apparent in Saw 2 and 3 and rather than being overly complex they do look as if they had been engineered in someone's garage or shed. They are of course vicious and extremely nasty and even though this film is gory once the opening trap is out of the way then they do settle down and are not as bad as some have been in the past. Saying that they are still horrible to watch and extremely effectively shot so gore hounds won't be too disappointed.

                I did enjoy this film and others have said how much better this one was when compared to the previous two, I think this is the case because we finally get some answers. If you have stuck with the franchise from the beginning and watched the other films in the series then you do need to watch this one to fully understand what had gone on before. Of course being a 'Saw' film the film makers do introduce a couple of new bits of information that are left unexplained but these will have to be cleared up in the next film as it has been confirmed that Saw 7 (which will be in 3D) will be the final ever 'Saw' (unless of course it does extremely well at the box office then who knows?)

                I know these films will not appeal to everyone, they are extreme and anyone who doesn't like horror films will avoid this like the plague. You know what you are getting with Saw VI; it doesn't venture from its well worn formula and offers nothing new to the genre. What it does do though is clear up some of the mystery surrounding the previous instalments and finally gives the fans some answers as well as giving us some new traps to 'enjoy' For me it was certainly the best of the last three and sets us up for the very final "End Game" that will come in 'Saw 7'.

                My disc is the "Extreme Edition" which appears to be the standard release for Region 2 DVDs and does come with a few extras; namely a couple of commentaries with the producers, director and writers, a short behind the scenes look at some of the traps, a feature entitled "Jigsaw revealed" and a segment on the making of Saw: Game Over, a Universal Studios interactive tour around some of the sets and props used in the films.

                All in all it is a solid release that will be a must-buy for fans of the series, for me it rates an excellent 4/5 dooyoo stars and comes highly recommended. I won't list the characters that appear as some will be spoilers if you haven't read any other reviews or the IMDB page about the film.

                Saw VI is a certificate 18 and is available online at Amazon for £9.98.

                Thanks for reading my review.

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                  20.02.2010 21:15
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                  Conclusion to the Saw franchise, if you liked the others, you'll most likely like this one.

                  I am not the biggest Saw fan you will ever meet and the first time I watched a Saw movie, I was a little cautious about what I was getting myself into, as I don't like to admit it as most guys like me wouldn't, but I am weary of intense graphic gore, which this is all about, but after seeing the first 3 movies, I've realised that it's not just about the gore and death, believe it or not, there is a somewhat interesting and deep story behind it. With this in mind, I've got to warn you that to really understand and appreciate Saw 6 or even any previous sequels, it's a good idea to watch the previous films because otherwise you'll be confused as hell and really bored if not simply discussed.

                  Summary

                  Saw 6 continues from exactly where Saw 5 left off, with the Mark Hoffman having killed the officer who has court onto that he is the new Jigsaw killer, now he is carrying out John's (original Jigsaw) orders through the envelops Jill has been left and has set up a new game for the man responsible in not providing John with the appropriate healthcare. You also learn about John and the psychology in which he has started the Jigsaw killings as well as Jill's involvement with Jigsaw. For anyone who has not seen Saw 5, this summary or plot is probably really confusing, however it isn't that complicated.

                  Review

                  It's hard to judge which Saw film is now the best because they have began to concentrate the story in more rather than just making it a movie about killing and complex traps. The first "game" is quite cringing and I did have to turn away for a brief second because of the pure graphic brutality it displayed, which I have to say is although probably not the worst game Saw has shown us, it is one of the most graphic. Apart from the first game, the rest of them seem to be a little "mild" and don't seem to vary much in brutality, which somehow I found wasn't that disappointing unless you came purely to see the gore.

                  The main thing I was concentrating on was really the story line as it reveals quite a lot about John and why he began to do it and the point behind it all as you begin to see that although he is the Jigsaw killer, he isn't really a bad guy and its everything he has seen and experienced has lend him to believe that "testing" people is the only way to convert them to justice. I found this quite interesting and insightful into the storyline wish I enjoy and probably the main reason I watched Saw 6 as I want to find out what happens.

                  The acting in the film was as always fantastic as you would expect from the previous films, the main role characters are not big name famous actors, which really makes the film unique and the casting is also great.
                  But the main attraction for the majority of people is the special effects, which again I've got to say were not the big attraction for this film. However anything that was done was done very well and was highly believable and realistic.

                  Overall

                  To conclude, this film was quite satisfying as a Saw film, it provided everything I expected and threw in a good storyline for me to get my teeth into as I am a sucker for a good story rather than the excessive violence and gore this film is famous for, it is definitely worth watching if you have already watched the first 5 films and I look forward to seeing Saw 7, which I can confirm is set to be made alone with Saw 8 and possibly more.

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                  18.02.2010 18:35
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                  Great for fans of mindless bloodfests, terrible for people who hate mindless bloodfests

                  I am a huge fan of the Saw films. Let's get this settled, you dont watch Saw films for the storylines or drama etc, you watch it purely for the gore and there is certainly plenty of it in this latest instalment. The film starts with a 'game' for two people who have been having an affair where they have to sacrifice more of their body to save themselves from dying. They have a device on their head that screws into their temples and the only way to stop it drilling in is to cut parts of their body off. This leads to the guy cutting flesh out of his side and the woman cutting her arm off! For those people who like the Saw films this is another solid gorefest. For those people that dont like them and dont like mindless gore, i would advise you to steer well clear as you wont like this one either. I think they're good films to just put on, chill and be totally grossed out

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                    12.02.2010 16:33
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                    Jigsaw's legacy continues

                    This is a review of the unrated version of Saw VI, downloaded from the iTunes USA site. The region 2 DVD is due for release on March 8th.

                    After the events and revelations of Saw 5, Special Agent Strahm is dead leaving only Detective Hoffman aware of what has actually happened. But Jigsaw's legacy lives on. Following the reading of Jigsaw's will, Jill Tuck now has a very special box in her possession, complete with the instructions left by her dead husband for his final wishes.

                    William Easton fears nothing. Comfortable in his role as a senior under writer for a leading health insurer, Easton and his five associates have made a living from the lives and deaths of others. But now Easton will face his nemesis, as he falls prey to the fiendish traps of Jigsaw.....

                    Now part of one of the most commercially-successful film franchises in history, Saw VI marks the sixth consecutive year in which the tale of a serial killer known only as Jigsaw lays complex mechanical traps and places hapless victims in life or death situations. As the franchise has progressed, the tale has become more and more convoluted, cemented by a continuity of writing rarely seen in such cinematic endeavours. On board for some time, writers Marcus Dunstan (since Saw 3) and Patrick Melton (since Saw 4) have been able to explore an ever more complex series of clues and mysteries, with each film revealing facts about things that were seen in previous instalments. The success of the franchise is certainly partly due to this continuity; audiences really do feel as though each instalment is part of something bigger.

                    There's a new director this time round, but you'd never know it. Having edited the previous five instalments, Kevin Greutert now takes up the directorial reins, but the continuity and consistency of the series is such that he has limited opportunity to express himself beyond the confines of what the audience expects. Hence, the entire film once again treads the path of dark, gloomy camerawork, with much of the action filmed in what is supposed to be a disused zoo of some nature. Again, as with previous instalments, the main narrative is interspersed with rapid flash backs of things we've seen before, often a more bloody nature, as though the writers thought it would be easier to recycle some of the imagery we've seen before. What's more, the way in which the action plays out now also treads a reasonably predictable path. We have a series of tests and traps being undertaken by a key figure in Jigsaw's life, played out against the backdrop of police investigative work drawing inexorably closer to finding out who's behind the whole thing. All in, it's now a disappointingly predictable formula. After the rather lacklustre fifth instalment, there was a real need to shake things up a bit, but the series is now so entrenched in its own history and sense of peril that there really is very little opportunity to do this. Clearly there are few people outside the Saw family who have the appetite to do it either. As editor become directors and previous writers become producers, this is managed by a very closed circle of creative talent.

                    Where Saw VI strikes the right chord, however, is in the nature of the traps and those caught in them this time around. Opting to play sensibly to the current public mood, the writers switch the audience into a less empathetic position by placing a 'fat cat' in the centre of Jigsaw's malevolent games. Few people were likely to sympathise with such an apparently 'inhumane' character and whilst the industry (health insurance) will resonate far more strongly with an American audience, other audiences will inevitably liken the victim to a banker and fairly relish his gradual demise. Hounded by accusations and examples of corruption and greed, the character of William Easton must undergo a number of tests and challenges that pitch him literally into the realities of life and death where previously it was all managed by paper work. It's not a massively original idea, but it is well-timed and plays to the general public mood.

                    The traps themselves are better this time round too. Saw V was criticised for having traps that were getting just a bit too clever for their own good and it started to become less plausible that these were the creation of one man, however gifted an engineer he might be. This time round, the traps are set in and often comprise parts of the chosen set, indicating how Jigsaw would use/re-use available resources, albeit for a more fiendish purpose. The downside is that things are perhaps a little less gruesome this time. The initial opening trap aside (always an attention-seeking cacophony of blood and guts) the remainder are more focused on the morality and/or humanity of the decisions to be made by the participants, which generally works pretty well.

                    It would be extremely difficult to watch and appreciate this in any real sense without having seen the previous instalments. Much of the drama here revolves around revelations that have little meaning within the confines of one film, but will play well to the fan base who will be falling over themselves to find out certain things (like what's in the box, for example.) This isn't a franchise for those who demand something that completely adds up, either. The scale and nature of Jigsaw's grand scheme is, understandably by now, starting to escalate in a way that threatens to blow everything out of proportion. Full marks should go to the writers for their attempts to explain how this led to that, which in turn led to the other but you do now start to wonder exactly where this is all going to go. Following Saw V's somewhat disappointing conclusion/cliff hanger, Saw VI restores some of the kudos with a little twist that could provide an extremely interesting new direction for Saw VII, but again, only for those who can really appreciate the potential this scenario has created. Let's face it, however, all Saw fans are waiting for (or should that be dreading) one singular event - I wonder if they'll ever get it......

                    As the number of films increases, the number of regular cast members decreases (for rather obvious reasons). Costas Mandylor has the dubious honour of being the longest-running supporting cast member, which seems an increasingly unwise choice given his relatively limited screen charisma. As time has worn on, his character has become a little too obvious. Curiously (given this is about a serial killer) the role of the police in these films has diminished further and further each episode and this time round, is virtually nil. Despite the ever increasing body count, the lack of police resources (and the opportunities this seems to provide the killer) certainly stretches credibility. Peter Outerbridge puts in a reasonably convincing turn as Jigsaw's main victim, but in all fairness, these aren't films that rely on superior performances.

                    At around the 90-minute mark, Saw VI is about the right length; any more and it would certainly outlive its welcome. The instalment definitely recovers some of the ground lost in part 5, but it's certainly not enough to restore what was, for a time at least, a seemingly unending appetite for more. Rumours are that Saw VII will be the final film in the series - and that might not be such a bad thing.

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                      22.12.2009 21:42
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                      OK horror film for fans

                      Just a warning but if you have not seen the previous films in the series and plan to, do not read on as the rather limited plot details will still contain spoilers for the other films in the series.

                      Watching the latest Saw movie is almost like a call to duty after all if you have sat through the previous five with their varying levels of quality, one being the high point however it does not always decrease in quality with each passing film just never rising to the standrads set by the first one, then you feel like you have to watch the next one just to get to the end, whenever that finally happens.

                      The Jigsaw Killer, or to give him his real name, John Kramer, left a box for his ex wife at the end of the last film and it is that box which has special meaning in this film. Warped police detective Hoffman is still on his case and at the same time becomming a follower of his and hence a convenient way of extending the franchise. Inside the box are envelopes detailing six different games that form some retribution linked to his death and reflect his lasting legacy so you get his narration throughout despite his demise.

                      The main target of his wrath is William Easton the manager of an insurance company and teh action takes place in an abandoned zoo.

                      As always the film is very graphic and shows some nightmare scenarios of torture and mutilation and these scenes assult the viewers senses right from the very opening scenes. Again this is another Saw film that is definitely not for the squeamish.

                      I felt that this film was a return to form for the Saw franchise, the tension in the film was built nicely, not only do you have the game unfolding with Easton you also have the net tightening on Hoffman and his attempts to stay one step ahaed of the FBI team looking to track him down.

                      If the film has a weak point it is in the open ended ending which was rather weak and could have done with more of a final twist, you sort of know when you watch these films that you will never get an absolute conclusion as there is always the potential for another film however it has almost run its course now, (some would argue that actually happened a while ago) and weak endings like this one do not help the cause.

                      For fans it is essential viewing, for those who have never seen a Saw film then it is pointless trying to understand this one without having watched the previous ones first.

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                        21.12.2009 10:23
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                        Immensely frightening, but absolutely genius

                        (Film only review)

                        I am not really a film watcher to be honest, probably my lack of impatience and Horror movies are my least favourite genre. I don't see why I would choose to freak myself out, but nonetheless I do understand the attraction to some degree! HOWEVER, the SAW series of films are something a little special and I can't help but go back time and time again. I have seen every film so far in the series and that include the resent SAW VI. (Can you believe we are on number 6 already?) Without any hesitation I went and watched the film with apprehension and excitement I anticipated it lived up to the rest of the franchise.

                        ** The SAW Series **

                        With each film strategically timed to be released just before Halloween, SAW seems to be the marmite of the horror industry. Some people love the ongoing thriller gore-filled scenes and twisted stories while others feel it simply doesn't quite live up to the deep horror flicks and has too many loose ends.

                        The Saw series is based upon a fictional character called John Kramer or as we know him, the 'Jigsaw Killer' who was married to a rather unexplained character Jill Tuck. Known as the Jigsaw killer because of the jigsaw piece he cuts from each victim, this symbolises what John believed is missing in the victims life. In the first SAW film, Jill had a miscarriage due to some drug addicts mistakenly collided into her during a bungled burglary and later on in the series John himself is diagnosed with terminal Cancer. Since then Johns psychotic aim throughout all the films is to make people appreciate life and how they value life in general. He then targets people he justifies as unworthy and forces them to play a game. (They usually become conscious and find they are trapped in a metal torture machine of some kind). This game is of course a game that ends in life or death and it is up to the person taking part how much they value their life... or others. Usually they are given the opportunity to make it out of the game (in other words to live!) by making some form of sacrifice, of either someone else's life or more often a piece of their own body! Jigsaw also uses the dark psychological torture which is what gives the films an occasional edge, often characters believe they have to commit mutilation etc when actually the way out of the 'game' is much simpler then first though. All the games are what Jigsaw sees as a form of rehabilitation.

                        All the films have proceeded to be full of twists and turns. With a couple of characters becoming disciples of the Jigsaw killer and thus taking over from John Kramer when he

                        Each film really is a follow on from the next and I am grateful that I have watched all the films from the beginning as I feel I have an understanding of how the film works. The SAW films don't scare me. I don't jump out of seat if someone says boo! However, all the films are gruesome, violent and twisted. So, you know what you are in for!

                        ** SAW VI "The Game comes Full Circle" **

                        To give you a brief idea of the plot, SAW V ended with the Jigsaw killer leaving a mysterious box to his ex-wife Jill. At this point we have no idea what is in the box, other then the fact it will of course be imperative in SAW VI. The dodgy Detective Hoffman who is Jigsaw's successor (yet also on the Jigsaw police case to try and find the killer... ahem... haven't got to look very far then!) also remains unchallenged and continues to try and fulfil Jigsaws legacy. However, the legacy is not as he believes.
                        Within the box that Jigsaw left Jill are 6 envelopes, of which each one relates to a game. Each game somehow relates to jigsaws death and how he wants certain things or people reprimanded.

                        Throughout the film John is once again apparent with his parallel storytelling and is still very much in control beyond the grave. The main game that continues throughout the film is down to Jigsaw believing his death could have been prevented and thus making the person he believes to have valued money over other people's lives, learn to appreciate his own.

                        William Easton who runs a large health insurance company has to face his own demons in his own sick game. William often gave people virtual 'death' sentences because he would not pay out insurance to them; he always found a way to save him and his company money. Even if this was in the wake of others misery, he didn't seem to care. The game is full of people from William's life and he has an hour to finish the game. William has 6 tasks, 6 choices and 6 lessons to learn. But is the final decision of life or death down to him, Jigsaw or someone else??

                        Based in an abandoned zoo, every game is of course gruesome, twisted and attention-grabbing. But throughout the film it becomes clear that detective Hoffman is not as precise as Jigsaw in his torture games and as mistakes are made and the game comes full circle. Jigsaw's grand scheme is finally understood... or so we are led to believe.

                        ** My Opinion **

                        As soon as the film starts there is no doubt that you are watching a SAW film. Opening with two people in large metal cages wearing rusty metal head harnesses it really is a scene from a nightmare and with close up footage of screws slowing puncturing the skull, I began to wonder why I had come to see the film!

                        Saw VI is directed by Kevin Greutert, who has been the editor on all the past Saw films and the writes on SAW IV and SAW V, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan have returned to round up the story. This means that SAW VI is somewhat more shaped together this time around and instead of there being 4 or 5 games and loose storylines going at once, there are 3 main aspects.

                        Firstly the main game what includes the insurance executive William and the garish game where he has to decide who live or dies in 6 different tests. At first I felt like William deserved to be part of Jigsaws game. He was portrayed as a selfish arrogant character with no sense of worth of others. Almost cocky and smug in his attitude. But as he continues throughout his game and Jigsaw explores deeper into Williams conscience we find out he is at heart a lonely man, with no family and seems to have no reason to value anybody other them himself. As each test is carried out we see Williams fight to live become stronger, and he goes against his own 'survival of the fittest' formula to get through the game.

                        The second game that is being played is of course where Detective Hoffman is trying to outplay his FBI colleagues. As his team gets closer to discovering he is in fact now the Jigsaw killer, for the first time in the SAW series we see the game almost ruined by its inventor. This definitely makes you believe that it is time for Hoffman to get what he deserves; they come so close to finding out it is him.... But do they get the chance to prove it?

                        This is the only part of the film where suspense takes over. SAW isn't known for its suspense filled story lines or characteristics as it tends to just jump straight in to the gore. But at the point when evidence is being analyzed and a previous character who Hoffman thought was dead reappears, it all seems that the Jigsaw games has finally been played out and I couldn't help but sit on the edge of my seat ever so slightly.
                        The last game that leads up to the end of the film involves Jill Tuck, Jigsaws ex wife. I have always found her to be a subdued slightly pointless character, and even though she somewhat steals the show at the end of the film I still think she doesn't have as much mystery to her as other characters. I find her a little flat. Anyhow, she is playing her own game and convinces herself that she has to fulfill John's legacy. Working alone she plays her own game, this results in the game coming full circle back to its game keeper. This does all seem rather predictable when you are watching the film and slightly irritating at times. You know what is going to happen, but you just don't know how. But does Detective Hoffman belong in the Legacy? That's something you have to see.

                        I found the ending if the film somewhat a let down. There was no huge twist as the previous films and it almost leaves you feeling slightly cheated. There were not as many variations in the story line as usual and the end was somewhat obvious. It is obvious at the end that there has to be a SAW VII in order for the story to be explained. I wouldn't say that the film comes full circle; it is still missing a vital answer at the end. Although the ending left a lot to be desired, the film itself was much more coherent then the other offerings and I didn't feel myself getting as lost as the story developed. It remained more pulled together and tight which made me enjoy the film more in that sense as I wasn't constantly having to think about what was happening.

                        As always the special effects in the film were phenomenal. With a cage filled with steaming hot valves that could resemble hell itself to someone's body being burned from the inside by hydrofluoric acid. Really, extremely twisted and gory, but incredibly clever and dare I say it, believable! Although I did find the repeat use of intestines slightly uncalled for.

                        This film is vaguely different in the fact that it makes the characters play against each other, where the other films were more if an individual challenge for the people in the game. The story went at a decent speed and didn't leave me bored or too convoluted. It lived up well to the other SAW series and although the lack of twists and turns left me slightly deflated, the order really was needed in this film to make the Jigsaw puzzle finally fit together somewhat.

                        ** Conclusion **

                        I have to say that in order to fully appreciate and understand the films you have to follow them through one by one and watch them all. This becomes more apparent in the new SAW VI as a couple of old characters return to beef up the storyline. If you haven't seen the other SAWS in particular SAW V then SAW VI may lose you at times, so my opinion is to head back and watch the other film. Even if it is just for clarification and you mind realise what you were missing in order to really appreciate the storyline.

                        Slightly simpler then the other SAW films, SAW VI still lives up to expectations. I found a lot of the story line somewhat obvious, and I have always enjoyed the revelation and surprise element of the SAW films which this one seems to be missing except on a couple of occasions in the film.

                        Not horror at its best, but definitely a more grounded yet gory storyline. I still believe that there will be another instalment as it just hasn't climaxed as well as it should have and to be honest I hope there is. If you have seen the other SAW films and you wasn't impressed, then I don't advise you to give this a shot as it resembles the other films very closely. If however, you did enjoy the other films, or even relatively thought it was ok, give the number 6 offering a go. It might just enthral you!

                        ** SAW VII **

                        So lets not get ahead of ourselves here but there has been talk of a SAW VII. But Troy Begnaud and Mark Berg who have had active production roles in the SAW movies have both stated that the next SAW will be down to fan reception of SAW VI, and more exciting is that SAW VII will more then likely be a 3D film. I genuinely hope that this idea generates further as I think a 3D SAW will be amazing. Immensely frightening, but absolutely genius. Role on 2010.

                        Thank you for reading.

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                          15.12.2009 20:44
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                          Impressive after previous two poorer entries.

                          Film only review.

                          By the sixth film in a franchise you should have a very good idea what you are likely to see; particularly in this franchise. Saw VI does not fail to follow the pattern of the preceding five but is thankfully a step in the right direction after a couple of disappointing movies. I have long since given up hoping that each year's release would be the final one that ties up all the loose ends previously established. This allowed me to enjoy this years film without the expectation which burdened last years (which had the tagline 'you won't believe how it ends') which I naively assumed was going to tie up the story.

                          I have my doubts you will watch this if you haven't seen the previous films (this assumption was proved wrong in the cinema but more on that later), but here is a very brief background, just in case.

                          Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) was a serial killer (pretty much, although he claims not to be) who targets people who he deems not to be appreciating their life enough. He sets sadistic traps where the people must escape from them by the set deadline, usually in a matter of minutes, or they will die. These traps relate to the aspect of the persons life that Jigsaw objects to. For example, a police informant will have to cut out a key from his swollen eye to release himself as Jigsaw has decided that he wasted his eyes using them to spy on others. Usually the trap involves the person sacrificing something if they want to succeed. Despite Jigsaw's earlier death his traps remain, whilst he has many apprentices willing to fill his shoes.

                          I have to admit after Saw V I thought the series was finished. In terms of story progression the films had stalled, it was almost like the script writers had ran out of ideas at SAW III. Impressively VI gets things back on track by returning more to the roots of the first two movies. There is a purpose to the traps again, in fact there is cleverness to them and you could see Jigsaw planning the events of this film, knowing they would take place after his death.

                          The films are very graphic in terms of the violence. In fact I think I have looked away from the screen at least once in every single one. This time was no different. Although, some of the hardest scenes to watch were where the characters had decisions to make knowing that they would receive pain (or die) or a colleague/friend/relative would. Again, this was coming back to a more intelligent set of traps. There were constant decisions to be made. For example, a claims executive who decided Jigsaw was not covered for experimental treatment has to decide which of his team should die. In one trap he has to decide between a middle aged woman with three children or a young man with no children but with his whole life ahead of him. This was a kind of ironic twist on the decisions he made daily at his work. One person is covered, another is not. Seeing how differently he viewed these scenarios personally compared with his professional attitude was interesting.

                          Although these films are released annually I struggle to remember all of the story lines from one year to the next. This means I generally have to re-watch the series prior to the new movie or make use of one of the online timelines. The time line is horrendously complicated as there are so many flashbacks which can change everything. In addition, there is a twist at the end of each of the movies which usually forces you to review everything again. This timeline is pretty good, up to the end of film five.

                          http://www.jigsawslair.com/2008/11/01/jigsaws-timeline/

                          Saw VI is slightly more viewable as a standalone film than the others in that the claims executive forms a large part of the story. However, there are numerous flashbacks and other side issues going on so I would not recommend it unless you have seen the others. I went to a 4 o'clock showing and there were only about 4 others in the cinema. A couple of pensioners came in and I thought they would realise they are in the wrong film (I assumed) when the BBFC title screen came up (this happens surprisingly often in my cinema). However, they didn't, they sat and watched it until they had finished their food then left after 30 minutes. Perhaps highlighting the graphic nature of what's on screen, although I didn't think this one was as gory as some of the previous ones, but its all relative. This entry was definitely more about tying up some loose ends and developing the story, rather than setting out only to shock.

                          I think this entry could re-energise the series. It was the first Saw not to top the box office on its opening weekend (losing out to Paranormal Activity) but I think this was more to do with the reaction to IV and V rather than this movie. However, my enthusiasm for VII has been reduced by hearing it will be in 3d. There will be a 2d version too but I worry that it will rely on gimmicks rather than continuing the story.

                          If you enjoyed any of the earlier movies I would urge you to go see it, although, try and fill in the gaps or at least read the timeline before you go. There are a lot worse ways to spend 90 minutes as any fellow Scottish football fan will tell you.

                          I really wanted to give this 4 stars as it was unexpected that I enjoyed it as much as I did but on reflection it's probably just a solid 3 star movie.

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                            09.12.2009 18:48
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                            Another gory, twisty entry into the series

                            note: also appears on my film review website, TheFilmBlogger.com, thanks!

                            Crushed along with Agent Strahm at the ridiculous climax of Saw V was my hope for the Saw series, although admittedly it has maintained more consistency than the Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween franchises ever managed. Nevertheless, after one almost-quite good outing that fumbled with a dire twist (Saw IV), and another that was simply mediocre (Saw V), the series has returned in style. Although it's still far from the standards of the first three Saw films, there's plenty of outrageous gore and numerous sadistic traps that will surely satisfy fans, as well as a fairly engaging narrative to boot.

                            Continuing where the last film left us once again, Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is now the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw's (Tobin Bell) mantle, but he will have to clean up some messes left behind if he is to prove the faithful heir to Jigsaw's throne. In many ways Saw VI, through its numerous twists and turns, only further cements just how pointless the last sequel was, and in fact, this film ties in rather well with the closing moments of Saw IV. With a little thought, Saw V and VI could easily have been edited into one film without really losing anything; all that Saw V really did was let us know a little more about Hoffman's relationship with Jigsaw, present a mysterious box that was left to Jill (Betsy Russell) by Jigsaw in his will, and of course, kill off Agent Strahm.

                            What Saw VI does best is bring the edginess back to the series; Saw V was woefully limp in the gore department, but from the film's gruesome opening scene, the blood-letting is frequent and plentiful throughout. I can't imagine few gorehounds being dissatisfied with Saw VI in this regard, for there's enough dismemberment, evisceration, melting (yes, melting), and general bodily harm to please most about anyone.

                            For the first time in the series, the writers have attempted a socially conscious storyline, choosing to attack the crudely unfair American healthcare system, and although it's executed with the subtlety of a bull in a china shop, it is admittedly quite involving. This tenet of the film introduces us to the film's principal hapless test subject, William (Peter Outerbridge), an insurance officer who devised a formula for his company that meant they mostly only accepted healthcare claims from healthy individuals. Of course, through flashbacks, we quickly realise that Jigsaw himself was one such individual affected by this, and he notes of William that his reductive formula fails to count the all-important factor of a human's sheer will to live.

                            William therefore has to decide the fates of others in a series of gruelling traps, but what's clear here is that the moral impetus of the previous films isn't taken so seriously; gone is the almost laughable attempt at moral complexity, which of course crumbles away as soon as Jigsaw insists that he isn't killing anyone (when of course, that's just pedantry; he is certainly providing the means). Rather, there's a darkly comic bent to proceedings here; the gore is extremely over the top, with one character's intestines spilling all over the floor at one point, and the ironic situations that Jigsaw places his test subjects in makes for some rather amusing kills throughout.

                            There's a sign here, as the series hasn't seen in three years, that things are moving towards a conclusion, a natural final showdown, if you will. Although the law of diminishing returns hasn't really dented the box office figures too much yet, and we'll surely see at least two more entries into this series, the twist ending of Saw VI provides enough wiggle room that the grand stage can be set for the few left standing to duke it out, and then perhaps the series might end with the grace that few surely anticipate that it will.

                            The film's director, Kevin Greutert, who edited all of the previous Saw films, has really learned what within the series works and what doesn't; largely gone are the disorientating and down-right ridiculous spinning camera shots and blink-and-you'll-miss-it cuts. Although it's still as grimy-looking as ever, and the industrial environments have become repetitive, Greutert has a far better hold on the positive aspects of the series aesthetic than Saw V helmer David Hackl, yet curiously, Hackl will reportedly be returning for the 3D seventh instalment next year.

                            If you're expecting to have the rug pulled out from under you with Saw VI, you're probably going to be underwhelmed by the climactic plot twists; the reveals are more sensibly satisfying than outright shocking, but they help bring the near-derailed series back on track. Saw VI is far, far from perfect, but it provides lashings of gallows humour and gruesome ultra-violence, as well as an interesting evolution of the plot.

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                            05.12.2009 11:09
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                            Extremely disappointing.

                            With Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) dead he wanted his legacy to be carried on by others, first Amanda then Detective Hoffman. In previous events Hoffman tried to pin the traps on his colleague Detective Strahm and it seems to be working however when it looks like Detectives are withholding information from Hoffman it seems the net could be closing in on him and Jigsaw's wishes may not be granted. Who will take over from Hoffman?

                            The film revolves heavily around the new victims as well as back-story, this time Jigsaw has decided to concentrate on loan sharks and insurance salesmen who refused him help when he was terminally ill with cancer. These people refused him help meaning that he eventually met his death, if they had helped him he may still be alive, now they must make shocking choices for who lives and who dies. Jigsaw wants to play another game...

                            So here we have number 6 in the Saw franchise, this has split public opinion much like John and Edward on X Factor recently, some like the films, some hate them. I too have mixed opinions on the Saw films as I loved the first four yet the fifth and sixth instalments in the series don't match up to the ingenuity, the nail biting tension or the sheer carnage which we witness behind our hands in the first four. Since 2004 there has been a Saw film released every October which is a tradition that doesn't seem to be going anywhere with the announcement of a seventh and eighth film in the pipeline.

                            I personally feel like 3 Saw films would have been adequate however Saw 4 brought in another dimension to the films which seemed to relight the series and in a way was the first in another trilogy of Saw films. Bringing in a back-story for Jigsaw has become the basis of the most recent three films. Saw 4 did well in establishing the reasons behind Jigsaw's psychopathic ways but I feel that was enough as Saw 5 brought nothing new to proceedings that audiences really needed or even wanted to know and the same goes for Saw 6.

                            I'm not sure what to make of Saw 6 because it's all just a bit of a catastrophe and more importantly it's beyond futile. If you were disappointed with Saw 5 then I wouldn't even waste your money watching this as it's a huge disappointment and a disgrace to what was once an inventive and captivating horror franchise.

                            When you look at the story of Saw 6 it all sounds very familiar to the other five films; you witness Jigsaw's victims battling their way out of merciless traps whilst we learn about what makes Jigsaw tick. As the second, third and fourth film are pretty much the same as this it would seem that Saw has got it's act together after the terrible fifth instalment and gone back to it's routes. Unfortunately this isn't the case, one dud film in a series of 6 films isn't bad however two is pushing things a bit and it's starting to become very apparent that the Saw series is quickly running out of ideas and instead is deciding to regurgitate ideas from previous films.

                            One of the main problems with Saw 6 (and 5) are they become too involved with the police investigation, fans of the series have come to expect gore and shrewdness but instead we're greeted with a painstakingly boring police investigation that no one seems to be all that bothered about. Saw 6 certainly spends far too much time focusing around Hoffman's colleagues and whether or not they'll discover him to be Jigsaw's heir. This all becomes a bit tedious and because Hoffman is such a dry and emotionless character it gives the audience no reason to actually care what happens to him, he is not Jigsaw which makes him another disposable character that you just know that sooner or later will be disposed of and I think we all know that it wont be pretty.

                            I felt that the choice of victims for Saw 6 was absolutely ridiculous, at the start it was focusing around loan sharks, Jigsaw previously wanted to help drug addicts and similar people who didn't appreciate their lives so for him now to move his aim onto loan sharks and insurance salesmen is extremely contrived and it now seems blatantly obvious that the franchise is quickly running out of steam.

                            I was surprised at how much Saw 6 seems to have been tamed, of course it still holds it's 18 age certificate and that is undeniably for a very good reason but there is a distinct lack of gore compared with previous films, it seems to rely heavily on atmosphere in favour of actual bloodshed like the others. I feel that Saw 3 was no doubt the goriest of all the films and since then the traps seem to have gradually become more and more tamed until we hardly see any bloodshed whatsoever. When you go to the cinema to watch an 18 rated horror movie you expect there to be gore; when you go the cinema to watch a Saw film your expectations are even more so, therefore a Saw film without gore is like Tom without Jerry. This links directly in with the traps that the film has become renowned for, it seems that the writers are simply running out of ideas so they're beginning to reuse traps from previous films which make the film a lot less enjoyable. The traps that are new to the franchise almost seem to be a bit too elaborate. What was so great about the first few films was that the traps were inventive however they were still incredibly unpretentious, it seems now that the franchise is constantly trying to surpass itself instead of remembering what the premise of the films are all about.

                            This is definitely not a standalone film which I think is one of the downsides to the franchise, I have seen all 6 so I'm not personally at a disadvantage but if I was yet to see the others I would like to watch a film that I would be able to understand without having to have seen the 5 previous films. The film is full of flashbacks and at some points it will refer to characters only in the first film which if you've seen the films more than once shouldn't be a problem but again if you're unfamiliar or only vaguely familiar with the franchise then you're going to be completely lost watching this.

                            As the Saw franchise seems to be losing sight of it's originality it's a relief that it's held onto the chilling music that it's used within all 6 films, it gives the film a real edge and is one of the most enjoyable things about the films because as the music gradually builds you know something new is about to be revealed.

                            There's a slight twist at the end which gave the film a bit of it's enjoyment back but it wasn't completely unexpected, infact if you've seen number four and five you'll probably be partly expecting it to happen. All in all I found the 5th Saw sequel to be incredibly disappointing, for the first time I actually found myself bored and although Saw 5 is only slightly better it seems that they are gradually declining and I can only imagine what Saw 7 and 8 will bring.

                            Not recommended.

                            The DVD is set to be released 8/3/10 and is available to pre-order from play.com for £11.99.

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                              04.12.2009 00:09
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                              Not great at all

                              Saw 6 was released in 2009 as part of the horror/ thriller, Saw series. These films only ever have a quite small budget, this one having $11 million but it went on to make over $44 so far. It is 90 minutes long and is rated 18 due to violence, torture and language.

                              Plot
                              Jigsaw is dead but Lieutenant Mark Hoffman is carrying on his deadly games, as we saw at the end of the last film. While investigations continue into the 'games', the detectives find Peter Strahm's fingerprints at the latest crime scene and wonder what is going on. At the same time, Hoffman learns that Lindsey Perez is actually still alive and has only been in hiding.

                              This time, Jigsaw's game focuses on a executive of a health insurance company, who, as we soon learn, turned down John's claims when he had cancer. William has to power to decide who lives or dies and it seems that John decided that he must experience this to the full, in a 60 minute game of deciding who lives. William has 4 bombs attached to his body and must complete 4 mini games before each of them detonate.

                              Cast
                              Tobin Bell as John Kramer/Jigsaw
                              Costas Mandylor as Mark Hoffman
                              Mark Rolston as Dan Erickson
                              Betsy Russell as Jill Tuck
                              Shawnee Smith as Amanda Young
                              Peter Outerbridge as William Easton
                              Samantha Lemole as Pamela Jenkins
                              Athena Karkanis as Agent Lindsey Perez

                              My Opinion
                              I'm one of those people who, if I've seen one in a series of films, I HAVE to watch the rest. I wasn't really bothered about seeing Saw 6 as soon as it came out but it didn't take long for me to break and watch it.

                              In the past couple of Saw films, the plot has been quite lacking for me and this one was exactly the same. We've all wondered how Jigsaw was carrying out his games even though he was dead but I guessed the ending after only about 20 minutes. Most of the plot was extremely predictable and I didn't feel that there were any major surprises.

                              The acting on a whole was quite good but none of the main characters really impressed me. In every single Saw film so far it has been the victims who have impressed me, some of which were main characters in the past. If some of the main characters in this film had put in as much passion and fear as the victims did then this would have been much more believable (If that's possible).

                              The thing that I love about these films are Jigsaw's games and traps. Nothing has come close to being as good as the first film yet but this one wasn't too bad. I did like the main game in Saw 6 and the fact that the guy had to choose who to kill was awful. The roundabout game was especially interesting because each person tried to save themselves by stabbing each other in the back by either making everyone else look bad, or themselves look good.

                              I think the Saw series in general is getting really tired now an I assume there will be a #7 after the ending to this one. I wasn't overly impressed with much about this film so I'm hoping the next one is fantastic or they end them altogether.

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