Sunday Lists: Resident Evil Franchise, Best to Worst

Video game adaptations is pretty huge. There aren’t a whole lot of successes but Resident Evil has been the franchise with quite the longevity. Whether you like Paul W.S. Anderson, are a gamer or a big fan of Mila Jovovich, Resident Evil has its appeal for some mindless entertainment especially in all its sequels. Being a fan of the franchise, I have my reasons to love everything that people may hate about it. While they have its flaws, the entertainment level is still there depending on the film. I’ll have a video game adaptations ranked or faves coming out soon as I build up on what I’ve seen.

Resident Evil (2002)

Resident Evil

The original Resident Evil is absolutely the best one out of these Resident Evil. Its a bit more slow burn and focuses more on horror than action while still having that balance and relates the most to the video game franchise that it is basing itself on. The sequence of events and the zombies and the transformation is the origin story of where it all began and how Mila Jovovich’s Alice starts. Of course, the starting point of Alice is really where the heart of this franchise lies and because of that, this takes top spot for creating this iconic female character with her one liners and her straight face. For some, it just seems like bad acting but over the franchise, its grown on me and I think it works so well with the character of Alice.

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) Review

resident evil retribution

It took a few movies to get back the  fun of Resident Evil franchise back in order. Something always felt a little off but the movie to pump me back up was Resident Evil: Retribution. At this point, it was pretty much an action film. Alice is a bad-ass female character with all the weaponry she has. In this one, she wakes up in a facility that she learns is a replica of a beautiful life and soon meets up with some characters from the video game which has taken too long to show up in the movie. Its fun little action romp with over the top action and one liners. Perfection it is not but entertaining as heck.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) Review

Resident Evil the final chapter

The Final Chapter makes it here because of its wonderful coming together of important cast members but also because it wraps up all the loose ends from the entire franchise to end the story for Alice. There’s still a lot of action and some suspense and pays homage to some scenes from the first film. Alice is great to watch and the cast works really well. With that said, going back to where it all started makes a great deal of sense for film and its always been the strongest location for the setting and the Red Queen has always been the strongest villain even more than any massive size and oddly morphed zombies would ever be.

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Resident Evil: Extinction

To be honest, I’ve always ranked this third installment and the fourth on something of the same spectrum. They both have obvious flaws but fill a different purpose to the story with some iconic characters from the video game franchise coming in play. However, Extinction benefits from a change in setting to the desert where it shows how the world has suffered from the outbreak at Raccoon City.  It sets up the devastation that has swept across the world and how the Umbrella Corporation under the wings of Chairman Wesker and the science mission they have to try to fix the world lead by Dr. Isaacs comes into play and forms their roles. There is a look at all sides of the situation. Alice is incredibly cool here with her motorcycle and meets up with some fun characters. Action and something of a feel-good zombie film for the most. There are some dialogue issues but its starting to shape to what the next few movies embody.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil Afterlife

For almost the same reasons as Resident Evil: Extinction, I like this one. At this movie, I made a revelation that Alice’s outfits are almost as iconic as the entertainment value of the movie. Plus, its always impressive to see how extensive these mutated zombies can go. However, this movie doesn’t go so much into the zombies. This one is a fun one just because its the first movie after the first movie where Paul W.S. Anderson takes back the reins and we can really feel the tone that makes it very fun. At the same time, he seems to understand this gaming franchise so we see a lot more of the video game characters is. The story fits in with the direction the third set.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

The most forgettable of the live action franchise has to be the direct sequel of Resident Evil called Resident Evil Apocalypse. Alice is fantastic as always but the story itself felt forced and it lacked the entertainment value that the later movies that followed had. It seemed like they weren’t quite sure what direction to it.

Other Resident Evil films (not seen yet):

  • Resident Evil: Degeneration (animated 2008)
  • Resident Evil: Damnation (animated 2012)
  • Biohazard 4D-Executer (short film 2000)
  • Resident Evil: Vendetta (animated 2017)

Are you a fan of the Resident Evil franchise?
How would you rank this franchise from best to worst?

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Valentine’s Marathon: Twilight (2008)

Twilight’s kind of our highlight feature for February so I’ll group it in with the Valentine’s Marathon since its really a love story more than its a vampire story. So we’re getting back on track. The love and Valentine’s theme has definitely been there even if I haven’t been reviewing as many movies as I’d like.

Funny thing about Twilight is that I actually watches about 85% of New Moon on a flight and it was the reason that solidified why I honestly wanted to stay away from this franchise. It doesn’t help that I have stood in the bookstore on more than one account over the years and tried to read Twilight and never made it past the first two pages. I chalk that up to Stephanie Meyer’s writing style not being my cup of tea.

Let’s get right into it and check out Twilight!

Twilight (2008)

Twilight

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Anna Kendrick, Michael Welch, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Cam Gigandet, Rachelle Lefevre

With what I said in the opening, I have never read the source material and probably never will seeing as my love for YA has diminished over the years. I went into Twilight expecting it to be bad and having really low expectations. While I have a bunch of criticisms which I will get to in a moment, Twilight’s faults were actually having nothing to do with the faults I originally thought it would have based on my experience of New Moon. Maybe its the low expectations of the film going in, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I am going to go into the strengths of the film first. The original faults that I thought the film would have was Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, the beloved Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, the stars of the show. In fact, they have quite a lovely chemistry (when they aren’t talking and we will look at dialogue in the next paragraph) except for that scene above which let’s just say was both cheesy and over the top. The cast here also has some great moments and characters like Bella’s dad is Billy Burke (who I like quite a bit) and the ultimate villains are a trio but the standout here is Cam Gigandet and Rachelle Lefevre. The latter having a short but still quite sinister role. The whole Cullen clan has some familiar faces and they are a fun group for the little time we do spend with each of them. Then, Bella’s friends include Anna Kendrick who I have never seen play such a teenage role like this one but does pull it off fairly well. Twilight has moments that work to be a lot of fun to watch: the baseball game, the treetops, saving Bella moments and then a few scattered here and there.

twilight

A movie however should be made up of more than just moments and chemistry. The dialogue here is where Twilight falls apart the most. It had a nice cast of characters which seemed okay for their set-up so that future instalments could explore more in-depth but the moment they started talking, particularly the moments with Bella and Edward which had the most weight was also incredibly cringe-worthy. This is coming from me who enjoys and tolerates Nicholas Sparks movies. It brought up a lot of eye-rolling and face-palming moments. Then the dialogue also brings up the story here. On the surface, it works alright in the nice quiet moments then Edward will go and say something like “I like watching you sleep” or “I feel very protective of you”. Look, I’m a romantic and all but if some random dude (meaning just some guy I don’t know much about), no matter how mysterious he seems, that I just started dating said those things to me, the stalker and possessive alarm goes off in my brain (sure, maybe a little less alert when I  was in high school probably). Something else that bothered me was the constant desire to spin the camera around a scene or cut through a scene abruptly from one angle to the next. It mostly got really frustrating and annoying. And, while this is from the original source, I couldn’t help but finally know what the deal with sparkling vampires were and its quite lame. I get the desire to give a new twist to the traditional vampires as many different vampire stories over the years have attempted but sparkling vampires have got to be the one that I can’t buy into and then Bella goes and says that Edward is beautiful or something and I’m like, nope.

twilight

Overall, Twilight was better than expected. Still very much flawed in many ways, story, dialogue and camera work didn’t quite work for myself but there are some nice characters here which could use a little more development but the chemistry between Bella and Edward is quite good (even if they look awkward a ton which kind of grew on me). I already know what to expect in New Moon and knowing that the franchise started better than the second one at least hopefully links some plot points together but who knows, I don’t remember much of New Moon other than where it was set.

Check back soon-ish for the sequel soon! 🙂

Sunday Lists: The Fast and the Furious Franchise – Best to Worst

This week we’re looking at the little (or big) franchise that could. A franchise that I thought had ended came back in 2009 and kind of has gotten bigger and badder in its mission of over the top action in the following years. The Fast and the Furious started as a small scale movie but launched the memorable roles for both Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker as Brian O’Connor. The franchise has yet to end despite the tragic passing of Paul Walker and seems to be greenlit until at least a 10th installment. This franchise holds a great spot in my heart and ranking is going to be really tough (and it truly was). The list will be updated for the next two movies as they are released and reviewed.

For now, here is the best to worst for The Fast and the Furious franchise (according to us, of course):

Fast Five (2011)

Fast Five is an awesome addition to the franchise. Its hard to imagine any of the films in this franchise beating this one. It has some over the top car stunts however compared to its later ones are slightly more believable. The team assembled here is at its best. Dwayne Johnson makes his first appearance here as memorable as ever. The location of Rio de Janeiro is fantastic as well as the villain here is competent. This film takes the strategic turn that the movie is not only about cars and family and the cast but also that this is a fantastic heist film with an awesome heist involving stealing the entire bank safe and dragging it as a team down the street in an adrenaline-filled escape.

You can read our review HERE.

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

The next three are the hardest to separate and rank higher and lower in this franchise. They each have their pros and cons that rank them fairly level. Fast & Furious 6 rank slightly higher because the team manages to be complete. In the sixth one, we see Dwayne Johnson join in almost like a team member. There are some incredibly over the top moments jumping across freeway gaps and a too long to be true airplane take-off. There are some emotional moments and plans for the future from other members and this sets up the stage to what seems like the plan for Justin Lin the moment he took over the franchise. Its fun and entertaining and does deserve a ton of props for getting here and being acknowledged for all the crazy stunts they do here.

Check out the review HERE.

Furious 7 (2015)

furious 7

Furious 7 does a lot of stuff right. The only reason that it ranks slightly lower is because its success lies heavily on those familiar with the characters here particularly Paul Walker’s character Brian. The movie does a great job at saying goodbye to his character because of his passing in real life. However, this sentiment stays strong for those in love with the franchise like myself because he get s worthy farewell however might not for the random person dropping into the franchise. Of course, before the goodbye, there are more than enough competent moments. One of the best being the great scene of driving a super car through the Dubai buildings. The setting and the adrenaline rush and the competent villain played by Jason Statham along with its emotional value all give this a worthy top 3 spot in the franchise.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

fate of the furious

The Fate of the Furious in terms of entertainment value don’t rival that of Furious 7 and Fast & Furious 6. In fact, they are still plenty of adrenaline rush moments. There are a ton of characters added to the mix along with new allies and old ones that make an appearance which plays to the fans of the franchise who love every single member that has joined into these missions no matter how big or small their role may seem. The only thing that makes this one fall a little short is that Charlize Theron while a competent actress and does a great job as the villain really doesn’t seem to have enough to do. Perhaps its the sheer amount of characters that are involved in this franchise now that its starting to remain fun but hard to not feel that its getting slightly convoluted. Its still a fun time especially as they head into a car chase down an ice field.

Check out the review HERE.

Fast & Furious (2009)

fast & furious

The true struggle in this whole ranking was where to place this. This movie sparked my love (or refueled my hope) for this franchise. The story was captivating and there was some great car stunts. The moments here that truly remind us of the greatness of what started this whole franchise up was notched up and done better. Sure, it doesn’t rank very high on Rotten Tomatoes but I do beg to differ. Here is where we see the reunion of everyone and where the events here bring everyone together. The effects here are a little iffy at times but it was the stepping stone the franchise needed to breathe some new life into it and give it the renewed vibe in the right direction.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

the fast and the furious

The start of this franchise was The Fast and the Furious and there is no way that we can discount it. While it doesn’t quite shine like its second start in what feels like the revival of the original team in Fast & Furious, there’s something here that makes me nostalgic about it all and the reason why it took so long to figure out where to place this. We learn about Dom and Brian, the values they hold and the start of a conflicted friendship that probably changed the life of the four people intertwined here. For that, this one holds quite a bit of place but then, its hard to not feel that while on a small scale it worked, the revival beats this one just a tad.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) 

fast and the furious tokyo drift

A completely new cast takes on this third entry to the Fast and the Furious. The characters are horrible and pretentious. The races are lackluster. Its only saving point is the character of Han and the surprise ending and the fact that Justin Lin takes over the franchise and in later installments, we realize that this film being out of place actually fit into a grand plan that he had mapped out. Was it deliberate? It would definitely seem so. And for that reason, this one manages to hang on just barely and escape the worst movie in the franchise. If this ranking was solely based on the first five films, it would place last because lets be honest, for those familiar with Initial D, its pretty much an American version with a similar idea.

Find the review HERE.

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

2 fast 2 furious

For the longest time, 2 Fast 2 Furious ranked a little higher than Tokyo Drift however for the reasons above, I had no choice but to push it to the bottom. This one’s only purpose was to bring on Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson who gave us the comedic banter that happens between Tej and Roman in the more recent films. For myself, the film also saw Jin Au-Yeung (more commonly referred to as MC Jin in the Hong Kong world) have a little role here which was pretty nice to see. Aside from that, nothing here really does stand out.

Check out the review HERE.

Are you a fan of The Fast and the Furious Franchise? 
How would your best to worst differ from ours?

Sunday Lists: Saw Franchise – Best to Worst

Saw Franchise

Its Sunday! Time for another list. If you missed the kickoff Sunday Lists post, you can find it HERE as I start off the list of my favorite TV Ships.

After some pondering, we’re taking a look at the franchise I just caught up with for the Halloween marathon in October – the Saw franchise. There’s only one movie I haven’t seen yet so it will be excluded until I  see it, then the list will be updated accordingly.

The list will Best to Worst so my favorite will be the first and least favorite will be the last. You all understand the drill.

1. Saw (2004)

Saw

The best movie in the franchise is the one that started it all. Saw was a psychological thriller with body horror elements. It had a fantastic script, an eerie one location setting (for the most part) and a great introduction of Jigsaw. It was a thrill to watch through and through and just made so smart. James Wan has an eye for horror, and this film definitely showcases that perfectly whereas Leigh Whanell co-writes with him an engaging story that lets us learn about these characters and wonder why they are chosen to be here and their secrets. Read my review HERE.

2.Saw VI (2009)

Saw VI

Its a tough one to choose for the 2nd because the rest of these are hard to place. However, Saw VI brought back some of the more psychological aspects. It definitely has gotten comfortable in its body horror/torture porn focus. While there are parts that hard to stomach, what stands out here is its look at why Jigsaw chooses his victims and dives into something of a more ethic and morals oriented motive which is why a lot of the victims are chosen because they don’t cherish their life. Saw VI brings a lot of those aspects back as the choices test limits. Read my review HERE.

3. Saw II (2005)

Saw 2

What started out as a film I didn’t like so much when I started the franchise after some thought came in third place. Saw II had a myriad of characters that weren’t really anyone you wanted to vouch for. It was the sequel and the okay to broaden the scope a ton by opening up the room concept to a house full of traps for each of these captives. It had some great ideas but the execution at times weren’t all that great. To be honest, the reason I didn’t like this so much was for one of the characters who was meant to be hated so means he did do a good job as I looked at it again. Read my review HERE.

4. Saw IV (2007)

saw IV

Next up, Saw IV takes on the 4th place coincidentally (perhaps for now). Saw IV saw the insert of some new faces particularly Scott Patterson as Agent Strahm who adds some color to the role. It does bring a change in pace with the police that is competent. This one also saw the introduction of a deeper look into Jigsaw and what brought him to become the man he is now. Call it something of an origin story and it worked for the most part. Read my review HERE.

5. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)

saw the final chapter

While most Saw 3D scores are pretty low, I did find some enjoyment out of this one. A lot of the reasons are the embrace of the ethics in the games although this captive and the game was much more predictable and the beginning characters were a little dumb. However, the final twist of the whole thing made up for a lot of its fault bumping this one up. Read my review HERE.

6. Saw V (2008)

Saw V

Saw V is quite near the end. Its problem being that its forgettable. I don’t remember much of what happened in it except that a lot of it didn’t make sense. I’m sure a lot of people could say that for a lot of the 4, 5, and 6 logically does feel nonsensical. This one was boring and if you think about it, a tad ridiculous. However, it does save itself a little because it strengthens the role of the apprentice ever so slightly. Read my review HERE.

7. Saw III (2006)

Saw III

And the bottom of the barrel and hard to probably escape from it would be Saw III. The reasons being that it felt really unfitting to the series. This one went into the extreme body horror path which was gratuitous and over the top which was plain disgusting and betrayed what particularly the first movie was about. It went in the direction I had heard the Saw franchise being about and what had stopped me from catching the franchise in the first place but adding in a lot of pretty ridiculous moments and characters. It wasn’t fun to watch and wasn’t engaging. Read my review HERE.

Movies remaining to watch and rate in franchise:

  • Jigsaw (2017)

Here’s how I’d rate it from best to worst? Do you agree? How would your list change?
Share your thoughts in the comments!

Horror Marathon: Saw VI (2009) #horror #Saw #SawVI #Franchise

Moving along with quite well with the Saw franchise and we are at the 6th movie. Its becoming wildly apparent that this is one long story that can’t be really reviewed by part however, we will try.

Lets go!

Saw VI (2009)

Saw VI

Director: Kevin Greutert

Cast: Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Mark Rolston, Betsy Russell, Peter Outerbridge, Shawnee Smith, Athena Karkanis

Agent Strahm is dead, and FBI agent Erickson draws nearer to Hoffman. Meanwhile, a pair of insurance executives find themselves in another game set by Jigsaw.-IMDB

NOOO!!! Scott Patterson’s Agent Strahm is dead. He was my highlight in the last two movies. At least he died pretty epicly, sort of.

I never thought that I would say this at this point in the franchise but the sixth movie breathed some life back into the franchise. However, since the last two movies, I haven’t been able to watch any of the first victims/games because its just incredibly disgusting. Gore and torture porn doesn’t normal bother me a lot but its probably the watching back to back of them that has caused a decrease tolerance. So, I was pretty nauseous in that first part because the sound effects made me also imagine what was going on and I have one outrageous imagination. And actually because of that beginning, I went into this sixth one quite bitter and angry for this opening direction. Lets just say I’m fed up of the gore which doesn’t make sense because this is what I had originally thought Saw franchise was all about.

Saw VI

To be fair, Saw VI is quite good. In terms of the direction of the story, it starts lining up with Jigsaw’s last game in his will and reveals the answer as to other person or people involved. The question at this point (and before) is always how do these people caught in the game relate to Jigsaw? How did they meet and what bad things have these people done? Jigsaw’s captives are rarely people who have done nothing and here is where this film excels. The story itself highlights Jigsaw’s mentality in spades about the morality and ethics. The backstory of everyone’s involvement is what links all the movies together but this story really brings out the why for Jigsaw’s action especially when his mantra is cherish your life and yet the guy caught in the game is stuck in making decisions to essentially use his formula on the people he knows and make him question his choices. What I did like the best was actually the way Saw VI manages to keep its tension and momentum and really keep us guessing to the end which was quite a twist. Good job on the switch in director to Kevin Greutert who seems take the gore a little too seriously still manages to balance it well enough in the psychological department to make it work.

Saw VI

While I do praise this instalment and had a good bit of enjoyment from it, which is surprising considering I was angry at it when the movie started, there are still flaws. It mostly goes down to our character making predictable choices. However, it might just fall into how well we know Jigsaw’s puzzle concepts particularly under time crunch blended with the guy in the game who does a decent performance. Or maybe, its just my expectations are so low that it didn’t matter anymore so there was more enjoyment because of that.

Overall, Saw VI does a decent job here. It makes the The Final Chapter (which we know is a lie since theres a new movie out in a week or so) a little more promising. How will they end it?

Did you watch Saw VI? 

Horror Marathon: Saw V (2008)

Moving back into the Saw franchise, we go to the fifth installment! So far, its getting disappointing but some have told me it’ll get better. So fingers crossed, I guess…

Let’s check it out!

Saw V (2008)

Saw V

Director: David Hackl

Cast: Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Mark Erickson, Greg Bryk

Following Jigsaw’s grisly demise, Mark Hoffman is commended as a hero, but Agent Strahm is suspicious, and delves into Hoffman’s past. Meanwhile, another group of people are put through a series of gruesome tests. – IMDB

Saw V deepens the story a little more as we take a look at how Hoffman got chosen by Jigsaw as his apprentice and to pick up the job after his passing. It ties in some parts of the past movies and actually does kind of make sense. Saw V has its gory moments particularly one of the first deaths at the beginning which is literally gut wrenchingly disgusting. Its really not my cup of tea. It didn’t make me feel scared or anything, just made me turn away so I wouldn’t get all nausea and shut the movie off. However, once we get past that part, the story driven elements runs a little deeper here, its interesting to kind of get a better idea of the timeline of the story while still having that element of the Jigsaw game. Its also cool that its quite obvious that the Jigsaw voice has changed to Hoffman’s (maybe slightly) distorted voice. Point is, I like the general direction of this one a little more than the previous two, at least. The only issue is that the movie does jump from scene to scene from Jigsaw and Hoffman to the elaborated captives trying to escape and then to Agent Strahm who is tracing back the steps. At times, this makes it feel slightly fragmented/disjointed.

Saw 5

I guess the approach here is to look at the three stories they are telling. Hoffman and Jigsaw are interesting characters. Hoffman is kind of a messed up cop because of a tragedy and he is vengeful as well and in some ways, Jigsaw was about to see through it in a see of people and know it was him and handpicked him to have an opportunity to learn his talent of anticipating human nature so that while it seems like his victims have a choice, they actually have to break out of their instinctive nature to make it out. And its pretty clever in that way, especially when we see Hoffman finally embracing that at the end of this one. Is that considered a spoiler? Maybe…I’m sorry.

Saw V

This brings us to the captives caught in the game which may have a deeper purpose in the story which I haven’t quite figured out yet or the story hasn’t gone there but it did help emphasize on the fact that these were people connected because of an incident which they eventually figure out however, they also become victims of their own nature of self-preservation and not being able to break out of that mentality causing them to have deadly endings. In a way, its also pretty clever, especially the games in each room they have to encounter because by the end, you see that the game was set up so that everyone could survive as long as they were able to think out of the box, which obviously they didn’t. The games itself weren’t particularly gory instead it was on the effect and surprise of what had to be achieved. There’s a little more of a psychological aspect here even if at times, who was going to die or make it became slightly predictable.

Saw V

The reason and motivation of my desire to continue after the third was all on Scott Patterson and my love for his character in Luke. Sigh~ I have to say that he takes on Agent Strahm and is the highlight of the last two. His character is cool because he’s smart and he traces through all these things and then realizes that he’s caught up in something that is way ahead of his expectations. However, his part as he traces to Jigsaw’s building and then goes underground and goes back to these traps (that somehow are still there) and looks back at previous movies of why they are there. My main issue with this is that he finds these trap doors or something in the walls and yet the police and forensic  or whatever investigative team didn’t find it the first time around. Doesn’t that feel like a trap? It just lacks a little bit of sense.

While it seems like I’m really not enjoying Saw V, there are some redeemable parts of it as long as you don’t try to make it too sensible. I have issues with how the story flows and even the timeline of it. But I have a feeling that when Hoffman’s lifespan as the Jigsaw apprentice wraps up, depending how long that is, we will start to get a full picture and everything should piece together. At least I sure hope so. As for expectations for Saw VI? I have none. Its the best way to get into these movies at this point. I just need it to somehow piece together without the feeling that the best parts are always in their finale because this formula is getting old really fast.

Have you seen Saw V?

Horror Marathon: Saw IV (2007)

And we continue…

If you look at my Letterboxd diary, you will see that it continued with quite a gap before I decided to jump back into the franchise. For obvious reasons if you’ve read the review for 2 and 3. However, I committed to this so why not? It can’t really get worse than how odd the story got for previous franchises I’ve covered. After Saw III though, where could it go? Thats the main question I have.

Lets check it out!

Saw IV (2007)

saw IV

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast: Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Lyriq Bent, Athena Karkanis

Despite Jigsaw’s death, and in order to save the lives of two of his colleagues, Lieutenant Rigg is forced to take part in a new game, which promises to test him to the limit. – IMDB

Saw III ended with the death of our villain here. In fact, the entire ending is the type of dumb BS ending that I can’t stand so you can see how I wasn’t eager to jump back into the franchise.

Its getting increasingly hard to hash out these reviews. Saw feels like with each entry that they are very similar in concept. I do get that its the mentality of Jigsaw. In the fourth one, it seems like he isn’t only trying to find someone to pick up his task and his big elaborate plans but we see a much deeper look into how Jigsaw became who he was as the FBI sent it, Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Agent Perez (Athena Karkanis) follow the clues to try to track down Agent Riggs who has been sent on his own mission to save Eric Matthews who turns out to be alive. This angle is a good one to be fair. Jigsaw was a mystery and its nice to see John Kramer, the human version before he became this crazy killer. The way this one ends, its pretty certain that there will be a follow-up as we already know there is, unlike how the third ended and you wondered whether it was just a trilogy and meant to end there.

Saw 4

Saw IV dropped down a little the disgusting scenes. It still had some pretty cruel traps however, this was a test for Lieutenant Riggs (played by Lyriq Bent) who we’ve seen in the last two movies and it was his test. At the same time, it makes us wonder who is now behind this mess since Jigsaw is pretty much dead or else you know, the events of the ending of the last one wouldn’t have happened. Regardless, the test did make sense for Riggs and particularly for his parts, and the whole finding Matthews and that really does come together. Even who has now picked up the reigns after Jigsaw is pretty obvious if you look at the clues that the movie puts out in front of you. Its pretty in your face although it does have those scenes that mesh itself together so it can also be waved as just a scene shift continuity thing (or whatever you call it). Plus, the ending of that trap was pretty awesome in the sense that I never expected that is how it would turn out in terms of Riggs and his test and saving Matthews.

The new players of the franchise, since the last Saw had a few exit, is Agent Strahm and Agent Perez (as I mentioned above). After Gilmore Girls, it seems Scott Patterson went ahead and joined into the Saw franchise for a little bit. This is his entry point. I love Scott Patterson because of his character Luke in Gilmore Girls however, in some hints when Agent Strahm gets angry and frustrated, its really still Luke just in a different context. And that is what makes it pretty awesome for me because the best parts of the movie was when he was talking to Jill Tuck (played by Betsy Russell) who is the ex-wife of John Kramer, aka Jigsaw and we dive into their past. Those parts helped give Jigsaw context and it was what added a foundation making Jigsaw actually more human as despite the extreme he took it, there was a reason behind this. Its smart to bring new players to a franchise and expand on the backstory.

Overall, I can’t say that I’m particularly a huge fan of Saw IV. It had its solid moments that truly did redeem itself. I do say that Saw franchise has this pattern and its starting to make it hard to watch a ton in advance before I review because it just meshes all together. I think that makes a point of how it lacks originality as other than making new intricate traps and new tests, its really formulaic. The new characters breathe some new life to it and its in these characters and dialogue where it shines. Saw IV is a tiny step back up from Saw III. Its kind of near the Saw II rating (at least that is my score for Letterboxd). Three more movies to go in the franchise (or 4 if I see the upcoming Jigsaw out depending on schedule) and there is somewhat of a redemption in this one for myself so at least I’m a little more eager to see Saw V.

Have you seen Saw IV?