By: Dan Hineline
In the latest installment of the “Saw” film series, the story picks up right where the last film ended. The audience knows who was helping Jigsaw perform all his murders, the crooked cop, Detective Hoffman. All the loose ends were supposed to be tied, but one man will not let that happen: Agent Strahm.
In most “Saw” movies, there are a series of stories running parallel to each other. In “Saw V” there are three. First, as already mentioned, is Agent Strahm’s pursuit of Detective Hoffman, the acclaimed “hero,” to bring him to justice. As Stahm’s investigation progresses, he discovers Hoffman’s involvement in numerous scenarios from the previous films. Seeing the same movies from a different perspective is interesting, but it becomes almost over-done. The audience has now witnessed Jigsaw’s involvement in the crimes and his connection with his assistants, Amanda and Hoffman. There is no need for alternate perspectives in any more films.
The second story is how Hoffman became involved with Jigsaw. Beginning in the very first scene, Hoffman murders Seth, the man who killed his sister, Pit-and-the-Pendulum-style. He tries to pass it off as Jigsaw’s work to avoid any investigation leading to him. As a result, Jigsaw seeks him out and shows him how to give people the right to choose between life and death, eliminating vengeance and focusing on teaching lessons. Strahm visits past Jigsaw murder scenes (joined by flashbacks of Hoffman’s training) while he looks for clues to the detective’s contributions.
The third story involves five strangers, all connected with incidentally murdering eight innocent people. They are forced to carry out a series of tasks to enhance their teamwork. Each of the four rooms has assignments for them to complete, and each assignment would work smoothly if only the five of them could work as a team. Obviously to provide “Saw V” with the essential blood and gore (decapitations, explosions, electrocutions, and of course, saws), the five of them just can’t get along. The games that they play are crafted to involve all five of them, but sadly they misinterpret Jigsaw’s intentions and think it’s a survival-of-the-fittest death match.
The question is, after four movies, when are the characters going to learn to listen to Jigsaw? Granted, when Amanda created lesson-teaching terrors, they were never intended to be fair, but Jigsaw has, in every instance, allowed the victim to succeed. He constantly claimed he never killed anyone, and in a way, he was right. All anyone has to do is follow the rules, and don’t question his explicit directions. There is always that vigilante who thinks he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and gets himself killed (providing the inevitable hint of a sequel).
The rules are fair and the game is simple. People just need to learn how to play.