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"SAW 3D"
(2010) (Chad Donella, Sean Patrick Flanery) (R)

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Horror: A cop tries to find a former detective who's taken over a series of grisly and lethal morality-based traps from their originator, all while the first killer's widow hopes to avoid the wannabe and a former reported victim must contend with a new series of traps intended for him.
With a vengeful killer known as Jigsaw (TOBIN BELL) long since dead, former detective Hoffman (COSTAS MANDYLOR) has taken up the slack of creating elaborate, morality-based traps, torture devices and otherwise deadly contraptions in which people who've done wrong or squandered their lives find themselves trapped. With a clock usually ticking down and Jigsaw's voice and occasional video of a puppet explaining the particulars of the trap, those stuck in them are forced to make hard and often maim-inducing choices if they're going to have any chance of getting out alive.

One such person who claims he's done that is Bobby (SEAN PATRICK FLANERY), who's now out on a PR tour with his wife, Joyce (GINA HOLDEN). They're promoting his book detailing his experience and visiting support groups for other survivors that include the likes of Dr. Gordon (CARY ELWES), one of Jigsaw's first victims who managed to survive. Another person hoping to stay alive is Jill (BETSY RUSSELL), Jigsaw's widow, who tried to kill Hoffman but must contend with him now coming after her.

Internal affairs cop Gibson (CHAD DONELLA) -- who had a past rivalry with Hoffman before the latter became a Jigsaw imitator -- and his partner, Rogers (LAURENCE ANTHONY), hope to keep Jill alive while they're hot on Hoffman's trail. But they must race against time to prevent him from killing even more people, including Bobby and Joyce who find themselves in yet another of the sadist's elaborate and potentially deadly traps.

OUR TAKE: 0 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics (or are done so late the night before they open) is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

Another Halloween period means yet another "Saw" installment, this time the seventh, although this one's going by the numerical moniker of the technology it's using in hopes of bleeding a few extra bucks from its audience that, for reasons probably best left unknown, keep coming back for extra servings of what's now commonly known as torture porn.

Any interesting aspect of this series (such as the elaborate booby traps and related morality tests & punishments) has long since run its course. All of which means that just about all director Kevin Greutert and screenwriters Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan can do is tie up a few loose ends when not otherwise delivering more of the same old, same old grisly mayhem, albeit in 3D this time.

But just like the lackluster plot, lame acting and everything else, even that added dimension is a let-down when not outright bungled. Sure, blood, meat and body parts fly out and hit the camera, but it's not terribly effective (no doubt hurt by the diminished brightness of the overall picture due to the format and necessary glasses), and the filmmakers don't have nearly enough fun and/or show much imagination with the extra dimension (and thus rarely put the viewer inside the traps for the expected "you are there" experience").

One can only hope that someone or something kills off this series before 4D becomes the theater circuit rage and we get to feel all of the grisly mayhem Unnecessary and not remotely good, "Saw 3D" rates as a 0 out of 10.

Reviewed October 28, 2010 / Posted October 29, 2010

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