Ah, that old saw.
Cinema’s premier torture-porn franchise at long last comes to a grisly end with “Saw 3D,” its seventh and possibly most meritless entry. And that’s saying something.
There’s no point in recapping the fake-outs and dunderheaded gotchas that make up the series’ mythology except to explain that inspirational murderer Jigsaw’s top student, Lt. Hoffman ( Costas Mandylor), and foxy widow, Jill ( Betsy Russell), had a spat at the end of “Saw VI.” The new film simultaneously follows Hoffman’s quest to break Jill’s crown and some hapless jerk’s bumpy ride through yet another thicket of yawn-inducingly elaborate traps. Let’s just say the omnipotent Jigsaw (or his cheeky protégé), wizard of set decoration and metallurgy, successfully defends his title as World’s Meanest Machinist.
There’s also no point in paying the 3-D ticket price for occasional bits of gristle flying your way, or blurry action shots. Whereas the first “Saw” got marks for originality, the filmmakers have so lost their fastballs that this one’s extreme gore provokes either laughter or sleep.
Intact, however, is an inflated sense of importance — there’s even a slow-clapping moment! — right in line with the 2007 claim by the director of three of the series’ installments that it has a “bigger moral message than a lot of the films that do win” Oscars.
If the quickly exiting “crowd” of about 10 at the screening this reviewer attended is any indication, this season’s real enthusiasm gap is between " Saw 3D’s” audience and those responsible for its rent limbs and overripe sound effects.