OCTOBER 25, 2007
One of my favorite stories to tell (at least, to fellow horror fans) is the time I went to some convention and met Leigh Whannell, Darren Bousman, and Shawnee Smith at a signing for Saw II. A guy in front of me had a copy of Armageddon for Shawnee to sign (she’s in it for like 17 seconds), and as she did, Whannell commented “That is the worst movie of all time.” Naturally, I immediately told him he was wrong. We debated Armageddon vs Commando for some reason, while they signed my poster. After walking away, I looked and saw that both Whannell and Bousman had signed it commenting about Armageddon (Bousman confessed to kind of liking it). I framed the poster and hung it on my wall, across from my Armageddon poster (which contains no autographs concerning Saw II, sadly).
Anyway, the funny part of the story (well, comparative to the rest of it) is that I hadn’t even SEEN Saw II yet. It had come out right when I moved to LA (literally, the day of, meaning as of tomorrow I will have been here for two years, since they come out the same weekend every year), and as I was unemployed for a month (and barely employed for another 2 after that), I didn’t feel the need to spend what little money I had on a sequel to a film that I didn’t really care for (it has since grown on me, as evidenced by yesterday’s review). But Bousman and Whannell were so funny to listen to I figured I should check the film out, so I rented it that night.
I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it a lot, and I still do (originally far more than the original, though now I put them about even). As most fans know, the script was originally written as another film entirely, and then reshaped into a Saw sequel. So it’s pretty impressive how well they fit together (even revealing a nice bit of backstory concerning Dr. Gordon). Bousman’s direction is different enough from Wan’s to give the film its own look, but not so much that it’s not recognizable as the same franchise (he even copies the idiotic ramped up driving shots from the first film). Clouser’s score is even better this time, and the acting is good (or at least, better) across the board.
This film also gave us a real introduction to Jigsaw. He’s only in the first film for like 30 seconds, but here he gets a lot to do, and his confrontations with Donnie Wahlberg’s character are the best in the film. Also, the well-aging Dina Meyer’s role is bumped up (she’s also in the first for only a minute or so), and Shawnee looks a lot better without half her jaw bleeding. It’s more violent than the original, at times excessively so (seems like this time, some people HAD to die in order for the plot to work, which is not the case in the original). The Franky G character is a horrible invention, and while having a house full of people who are at odds with each other as much as their common enemy is a well-worn plot device, it doesn’t make him any less wretched (he’s also the weakest link acting-wise). Naturally, he lives the longest of all the people who eventually die.
As with the first film, the 2-Disc DVD is pretty jampacked, and I don’t have time to go through it all. I did play the little DVD-ROM game for a little bit, long enough to see a "Saw 2 in 62 seconds" claymation thing that was pretty funny. Some day, I will devote myself to the entire Saw franchise’s extras (hey, if I made it through all four discs of Fellowship of the Ring AND Pearl Harbor, I can make it through Saw 1-3 at least), but rest assured it’s no ripoff like Windtalkers was (where the 2nd and 3rd discs contained less than 2 hrs of extras combined), as it contains a wealth of info, plus a nice little piece in memory of Gregg Hoffman, producer of the films who died shortly after the film was complete.
What say you?