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Jigsaw (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


JigsawIf it’s Halloween, then it must be Saw. That was the slogan for one of the most successful horror franchises that began in 2004. It would go on to last seven films in seven years back to back. Then in 2010 the franchise would say its goodbye with ‘Saw 3D‘ (aka Saw: The Final Chapter) as the makers began losing ideas and the rise of another popular franchise was at hand. But seven years later we see ourselves facing the return of one of the most prolific horror icons in some time with ‘Jigsaw‘ as the Spierig Brothers helm the project.

It’s been 10 years since the death of John Kramer and bodies are beginning to show up with evidence pointing to Jigsaw himself. As Detective Holleran investigates the crime scenes a deadly game has begun as five victims must fight their way to freedom. Is it possible that the Jigsaw killer has arisen from the grave? Or is the possibility of a follower hoping to resurrect a legacy of carnage.

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As an avid fan of the original Saw film the series would go on to make six sequels thereafter. Up until ‘Saw III‘ you could justify or argue if the series should have ended with the death of John Kramer. However, the series continued and Costas Mandylor (Detective Hoffman), would carry the franchise all the way till the end. I enjoyed all the Saw films and what made the series so special was the fact that it tried to be different from all the other horror franchises in existence. With a complex story arc and returning characters there was a consistency with the series. And it must be said the composer for all the movies, Charlie Clouser, did an amazing job in utilizing alternative themes within each entry.

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With the announcement of Lionsgate returning to the Saw series in 2016 there were mixed feelings and were more negative than positive. All I asked myself was why? Obviously it’s a cash grab for the studio but as a fan of the series there wasn’t really any more story left to tell after ‘Saw 3D‘. It may have been the worst entry in the franchise but the twist ending provided a somewhat satisfying closure. By returning seven years later the movie would have to be a game changer and with a purpose. Unfortunately, all of my worst fears came true and even left me in anger after the movie had ended.

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The movie has the feel of a Saw film. The differences are mostly aesthetic and this time we escape from the dark and dingy hallways to more of the outside. Sort of like what we had seen in ‘Saw 3D‘ but more so. Now let’s get to the traps. They are no different this time around and can even be described as being less convoluted. I would actually say there weren’t any stand out traps. And finally the story element. We get to see a lot of the investigation aspect with the detectives; including Holleran. There comes a point when paranoia begins to build up and fingers being pointed in different directions as possible accomplices. And of course the almighty question that gets brought up and looms over the entire movie is if John Kramer has actually come back from the grave.

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We now get to the ending and the twist of the movie. As with all Saw films there’s an element of surprise as typically a montage would follow. But the twist in ‘Jigsaw‘ is but a summation of why this movie shouldn’t have taken place. It’s no different from any of the previous movies although it does add backstory to Jigsaw. Yet the revelation falls flat and feels like a desperation move by the studio to continue the franchise. To the general audience who may not have seen any of the Saw films going back 13 years the reaction may be different. As a reboot it may bode well with the newer audiences. But for the loyal fans of the series it may generate a negative reaction and maybe to the point of infuriating.

For the acting, I didn’t mind most of the detectives. As for the five victims who awaken in a barn they start off strong but then eventually fall into cliched hollow characters that when they die you have no feel for them. Tobin Bell, a.k.a Jigsaw, was good although his screen time wasn’t all that memorable but it was nice to see him reprise his role once again as the iconic villain. As a return to the franchise the movie was a total let down and completely unnecessary. Depending on whether the movie does well at the box-office I fear that more sequels may be in the works. Ultimately, ‘Jigsaw‘ should’ve stayed buried.

Rating: 5/10

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What do you think of ‘Jigsaw‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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Triple 9 (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


UnknownA group of crooked cops are under pressure by a Russian Mob to pull of a heist. But not everyone is in on the job as Chris Allen is partners with Michael Atwood who has relations with the boss’s family. When the IA gets closer to the bandits and the walls begin to close in, everyone is on their own and trust soon turns to betrayal. The movie is directed by John Hillcoat with stars Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, and Woody Harrelson.

From the same person who brought us ‘Lawless‘ and ‘The Road‘, John Hillcoat delivers an action packed drama that wasn’t promoted or advertised. Not having seen the trailer I went into ‘Triple 9‘ with low expectations because of the lack of exposure in theaters and on television. So how did the movie fair? Although it kept my attention with the story and action sequences the film is far from perfect but it managed to stand on its own two legs for most of the runtime.

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What this movie reminded me a lot of was Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed‘ and Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Training Day‘. In this film we find Michael Atwood lead a group of men in a series of heists while working for a Russian Mob. Along the way he struggles to please his bosses while trying to see his son whenever possible. It gets to a point where Michael has to make drastic decisions in order to stay alive. At the same time we follow Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) as he is partnered with Michael unknowing of his involvement with the mob. This leads to a heist that is near close to impossible where the only solution is to call a triple 9 and lure police away from the police station in order to steal from The Department of Homeland Security.

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The movie keeps the viewers attention with the drama and crime scenes that are genuine to what we see with cartels and inner-city violence. There’s one scene that got a reaction from the audience that hits close to home that involves a car and head trophies sitting on the hood of the trunk. And the performances by Affleck and Ejiofor were what stood out from everyone else. Everyone contributed in their own way including Woody Harrelson who played the IA detective and father of Chris. One of the disappointing things that took me by surprise was the sudden death of one of the characters. Without spoiling it all I’ll say is that I really thought this character would have had a leading part in the movie.

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There wasn’t necessarily a bad performance throughout the movie; however, what did hurt the film was the pacing. After starting strong with a bank heist we then get introduced to the mob. It’s soon after that we learn of the heist that’s to take place in the near future. But until then the movie takes its time leading up to the heist that a good twenty minutes could have been removed to quicken the pace without hurting the story. And where the movie also suffers is in the quick and sudden resolution between Michael and the Russian mob. The movie could have better intertwined the crooked cop narrative along with the mob’s narrative. It felt at times the two were separate from each other yet people were referenced by each side. Aside from these issues, your entertained till the end with decent performances from everyone involved.

Although the narrative could’ve been a little tighter with less of a runtime, ‘Triple 9‘ is good enough to leave audience members satisfied. It may not have that effort as compared to ‘Training Day‘ or ‘The Departed‘ but it follows the same twists and turns each were able to offer. Casey Affleck and Chiwetel Ejiofor are the leads who did a great job along with Woody Harrelson. Having not been advertised enough it’s disappointing this movie won’t do as good financially had it been the other way around.

Rating: 6.5/10

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What do you guys think? Have you heard of ‘Triple 9‘ and are planning to watch it? Comment below and click the like button if you enjoyed reading this post.