A pleasant albeit gory surprise, Saw 2 is actually far better than its predecessor. The film opens with one of Jigsaws victim, in this case a police informant, in the same sort of quandary as the victims in the original Saw. Will he mutilate himself in order to get to a key and unlock a deadly venus flytrap-like contraption secured around his head or will he be unable to tear himself apart in order to ultimately survive? Because it opens with that sort of nod to the original film, you may be lulled into believing this is a barely disguised repeat/rip-off of the first Saw. Youd be wrong. Saw 2 is better and bloodier than the film that inspired it, and features superior acting - and even a little more character development to boot.
Saw 2 follows Donnie Wahlberg as Police Detective Eric Mathews, an officer with serious issues. Hes suffering from burn-out at his job, his personal lifes a mess, and he just had to bail his teenage son out of jail. To top it off, the serial killer nicknamed Jigsaw left a message taunting him at the site of his latest murder.
Despite repeated objections that he wants nothing to do with the investigation, the message from Jigsaw drags Mathews into the case. Mathews and a squad of officers quickly track down Jigsaw and discover hes a sick old man literally. Dying of cancer, Jigsaw is hooked up to IVs and doesnt put up a struggle when confronted.
The easy capture turns out to be part of Jigsaws twisted plan. It seems Jigsaws already coordinated his next murders. Hes locked a group of eight people in an unknown location with a video feed set up for the police to watch. And to make things even more interesting, one of the potential victims is Detective Mathews son. If it wasnt personal before, it definitely becomes that way after Mathews sees whats happening to the strangers Jigsaw's kidnapped and forced to fight for their lives.
The acting of Saw co-writer Leigh Whannell and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) were two of the main reasons the first movie didnt work for me. This time around, were treated to more of Tobin Bell as Jigsaw along with a cast of victims (including returning "Saw" star Shawnee Smith) who are, for the most part, able to portray more than one emotion. There are a couple of bad apples in the bunch but its easy enough to let them slide since overall the cast does a great job of conveying the terror of being trapped by a madman without much hope of escape.
Because I wasnt a big fan of the first film, I didnt expect much from this sequel. But Ive got to give credit where credit is due. The filmmakers took what worked from the first Saw and expanded and improved on the premise, delivering a better product the second time around.
The tagline for Saw 2 is Oh yes, there will be more blood and oh yes, the film definitely lives up to that promise. Characters die horrible, sickening deaths, some of which I was only able to watch through the small space between my fingers. Saw 2 is brutal, bloody, and full of gross-out situations not for weak-stomached moviegoers but perfect for those longing for a truly all-out disgusting horror movie.
"Saw 2" was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and is rated R for grisly violence and gore, terror, language and drug content.