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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Saw VII

January 23rd, 2011

Saw VII - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack, or 3D Blu-ray / Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack

Saw VII is reportedly the last installment in the six-year old franchise. Seven films in six years is impressive, as is the total worldwide box office of $850 million on a total production budget of less than 10% of that. (The final installment cost the most at $20 million, probably due in large part to the 3D effects.) The previous film earned good reviews, at least compared to the franchise's average. So was the film able to build on that critical success, or did it sink to the levels we saw in Saw V?

The Show

Saw VII starts at the beginning. Actually, it starts just after the beginning ended.

Let me try that again.

Saw VII begins with the immediate aftermath of the events of Saw, namely Lawrence Gordon dragging himself down a hallway leaving a trail of blood from his amputated leg. It's a bit of foreshadowing before the prologue and the actual plot.

The actual plot involves two threads. Firstly, Jigsaw's widow, after unsuccessfully trying to kill Hoffman, goes to internal affairs to give him up in exchange for immunity. Hoffman, obviously, tries to stop her and kill anyone in his way. The second thread involves Bobby Dagen, a self-help guru who became famous for being the man who survived Jigsaw's traps. However, it's a lie he made up to get famous. Hoffman kidnaps him, and several others that were involved in the fraud, and one who wasn't, and makes Bobby go through ordeals to save their lives.

That's it for the plot. So how is the film? I've only reviewed one of the previous installments, Saw V, which you can read here. This film is no better than that one, which is bad news, as Saw V was pretty bad to begin with. The traps are less Rube Goldberg like, and are more designed to take advantage of the 3D format. Torture porn is not appealing to me, and torture porn with bits of gore being flung at the screen is even less appealing, especially since I just have the 2D DVD to review. (I have not yet made the leap to 3D and this film didn't convince me its time to do so.)

Without clever traps, we are left with just a rehash of what we've seen before. In fact, while watching the thread with Bobby the Self-Help Guru, I couldn't help but think we've seen this plot before. (Maybe I was getting confused with the Hoffman faking a jigsaw trap to get his personal revenge. Quite frankly, the plots are running together.) And this basic setup stopped being interesting around the third film. While the cops coming after Jigsaw and / or his latest apprentice has long since ceased being compelling enough to center a movie around.

The Extras

The extras on the DVD include two audio commentary tracks, the first with the producers and the second with the writers. There are also six deleted / extended scenes with a total running time of 14 minutes. Finally, there's a music video. That's not bad, but not overwhelming either.

I don't have the Blu-ray, but it does have a featurette on all of the traps seen in the franchise, plus it comes with the DVD and a Digital copy, all for just $2 more, which is a very good deal, if you are interested in buying. Finally, the 3D Blu-ray has all of the above at just $5 more than the Blu-ray combo pack. I've not seen the 3D version of the movie, but most reviews I read, that talked about the 3D, said it wasn't worth the extra money when it was in theaters, so keep that in mind if you are going in on a blind buy.

The Verdict

I really wish Hollywood screenwriters were forced to take a few medical courses before writing movies like this. It is very difficult to render someone unconscious for even a few minutes without killing them. Also, the human body has a very limited supply of blood and will go into shock quite quickly if it loses too much.

Like most films in the franchise, Saw VII contradicts both of those facts, frequently. It is also filled with gory, unimaginative traps, an uninteresting storyline, and other flaws. The franchise had long since run its course and I sincerely hope this is indeed the final chapter. On the other hand, if you are a fan of these films and are interested in buying it, the Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack is the better deal than the DVD, while the 3D Blu-ray / Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack is probably not worth it, unless you are really desperate for 3D films to justify the expense of your 3D TV.

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Filed under: Video Review, Saw 3D